Bloomberg’s The Trace, Race, Crime, and Concealed Carry in Chicago

For some time I have been meaning to write about concealed carry and race in connection with my reading of Jennifer Carlson’s book, Citizen-Protectors, but it just keeps getting away from me.

This morning an email digest from the Bloomberg-funded  “independent, nonprofit news organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns in the United States” reminded me that I need to do this.  Picking up on a story in the Chicago Sun-Times (which included an interactive graph on permitting rates in different zip codes in Illinois), The Trace ran a brief piece on “Race, Crime, and Concealed Carry Clusters in Chicagoland,” which I’ve copied below.

[NOTE: The analysis below published by The Trace turns out to be incorrect. See my Take Two post for the correction.]

From interactive graphic at
From interactive graphic at



Speaking of concealed-carry records: A new analysis of aggregate data on Illinois licensees found permit holders (unsurprisingly) clustered in parts of Chicago where a lot of police officers reside. The bigger news: Permits are also popular in minority neighborhoods that suffer high crime rates.

According to the Sun-Times report, the South-Side ZIP code that was home to Otis McDonald, the late African-American plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Chicago’s former handgun ban, ranks in the top 2 percent statewide for per capita permit holders.

That fits with a Pew Research Center survey showing that “54 percent of blacks now see gun ownership as a good thing, something more likely to protect than harm.” As Detroit Police Chief James Craig told NPR: “It was a well-known fact here in Detroit. People didn’t have a lot of confidence that when they dialed 911, that the police were going to show up. In fact, we know they didn’t.” The embrace of concealed carry by some members of minority communities is a trend with which a post-Charleston push for new gun safety measures may have to contend.


  1. Absolutely agreed RE: the changing racial landscape of CC in terms of its political implications for largely white GC activism, whatever that means. Let’s dialogue about this more sometime soon.


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