Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Concealed-Carry Weapon Requests Jump

Applications on the rise in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino
Authorities across the country are getting a flood of applications to carry concealed weapons in the wake of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., especially in locations near sites of recent mass shootings.
Alan McFadden, 54, of Seminole, Fla., checks 
merchandise at a shop in Pinellas Park this week. T
ampa Bay Times/Zuma Press
The spike is perhaps most pronounced in California. The Sheriff’s Office in San Bernardino, site of last week’s shootings that left 14 dead and 21 injured, said it had received about 80 applications for concealed-carry permits by early this week, compared with the 10 or 12 they might get in a typical week, according to a spokeswoman.
Applications are up in several neighboring counties in California, including Riverside, Kern, Imperial and San Diego, according to representatives in those offices.
Arapahoe County, Colo., which includes much of Aurora, where James Holmes killed 12 and injured 70 others in a 2012 movie-theater shooting, is getting nearly 60 applications per day, far more than the normal 15-20, according to a spokeswoman with the county sheriff’s office. Allegheny County, Pa., home to Collier Township, where a gunman killed four and injured nine at a health club in 2009, has seen applications in the past week “rise significantly,” according to Kevin Kraus, the county’s chief deputy sheriff.
“I think Paris put personal safety on people’s minds, but San Bernardino has brought it home,” said Steve Gabbitas, a spokesman for Kern County, northeast of Los Angeles. The county was on pace to get 250 concealed-carry applications in December, more than twice the number in a typical month, he said.
Sheriffs in some counties are actively encouraging people to carry firearms. “I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County [N.Y.] who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO,” wrote Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum in a Dec. 3 message on his office’s Facebook page.
Sales of guns and ammunition have traditionally spiked after shooting incidents in recent years, including the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook School. All gun sales made through federally licensed dealers are subject to background checks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The FBI will decline purchases to certain categories of buyers, like people with significant criminal records or with histories of serious mental illness.
But now, people appear to be moving beyond straightforward firearm purchases. They are looking for the possible protection a concealed weapon may provide, rather than a firearm for hunting or target-shooting, say retailers, law-enforcement officials and other people involved in the gun-permit process. The applications may include some who have owned a gun for a while, but now want the ability to carry it legally on the street.
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