Black Women and Guns in Texas

I saw a couple of people (including InstaPundit) citing this Utne Reader article, which reports that “Texas Department of Public Safety data show that the fastest-growing group of concealed handgun owners in the state has been, for at least five years, black women” (and also tells the story of the author, one of those black women). And, as I always like to do, I decided to check the statistics for myself. I don’t think the race and sex of who owns guns and who has carry licenses is particularly important for evaluating concealed carry laws, but such demographic phenomena still strike me as interesting — and I would think that both gun rights and gun control activists should also find them interesting in crafting their political strategies.

In any case, here’s what I found; the first four columns after the year are percentages of concealed carry permit recipients who belong to each group, and the last column is ((blackwomen/blackmen)/(whitewomen/whitemen)) — basically, an indicator of how the sex ratio of permits among blacks compares to the sex ratio among whites, with numbers >1 suggesting that the women/men sex ratio is higher for blacks than whites. Note that the Texas population as a whole is 80.9% white and 12.2% black, and all these numbers seem to treat most Hispanics as whites (following the modern demographic approach of treating Hispanic as an ethnicity rather than a separate race).

Year Black Women Black Men White Women White Men Comparative Ratio
1996 0.49 2.88 18.68 74.87 68.19217672
1997 0.92 4.05 19.99 70.69 80.33004156
1998 0.8 3.84 18.35 72.82 82.67484105
1999 0.87 4.04 18.3 72.11 84.85594871
2000 0.69 3.68 15.76 76.27 90.74000635
2001 0.85 4.1 16.43 74.83 94.42201208
2002 0.84 4.25 16.64 74 87.8959276
2003 1.14 5.08 16.84 71.87 95.77379505
2004 1.1 4.92 15.05 74.17 110.1842098
2005 1.13 5.23 15.67 72.83 100.4195031
2006 1.46 5.66 15.6 71.88 118.8556673
2007 1.56 6.08 16.1 69.99 111.5401275
2008 1.46 5.61 15.89 70.81 115.9740148
2009 1.56 4.74 19.42 67.55 114.4780925
2010 1.89 5.79 18.84 65.93 114.2313785
2011 1.68 5.11 19.16 67.33 115.5317871

The overall trend does seem striking. Women are indeed much less likely to get concealed carry licenses than men, and blacks than whites. But the disparity is decreasing, with the percentage of black licensees rising from 4.45% in 1996-2000 to 7.10% in 2007-2011. And the increase in black women licensees is especially striking (0.75% in 1996-2000 to 1.63% in 2007-2011). Indeed, while in 1996-2000 the gender gap among blacks was materially greater than that among whites, in 2007-2011 it was materially less (with the comparative ratio rising from an average of 81% over the first five years to an average of 114% over the last five).

What that means about gun attitudes and gun politics in Texas, I can’t say; but I thought it was worth noting.