Handgun applications up 33 percent in past year

Mar. 13, 2013 @ 05:14 AM

Applications for handgun purchase permits and concealed carry permits have increased since last year, according to statistics from the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

In 2012 there were 3,621 applications for handgun purchase permits and of that number 3,466 were approved. The year before there were 2,395 applications and 2,285 of those approved.

When it came to concealed carry permits, there were 2,375 applications in 2012, 1,933 of which were approved. As of mid February, there were 421 permit applications still pending. In 2011 there were 1,326 applications and 1,320 that were approved, according to Union County Sheriff’s Office statistics.

Applications and other information about the permits can be found on the Union County Sheriff’s Office website. Both permits require background checks. A concealed carry class is required before a concealed carry permit is issued. Lt. Warren Stephens of the Union County Sheriff’s Office.

For concealed carry permit, safety classes are required. Though the class is not required for the handgun permits, being trained on the proper way to use and store a gun are helpful, Stephens said.

“Any gun safety class is good to have and valuable is what I think,” Stephens said.

Stony Rushing, who operates Take Aim Training with his wife Anne Marie Rushing, has seen a large increase in enrollment in their concealed carry classes.

“We have a lot of first time gun buyers,” he said in reference to the majority of students he’s seen in their classes lately.

They usually teach an average of 400 to 450 people a year in their classes but in 2012, that number increased to 700. In the first two months of this year, they have already had around 400 people enrolled in their classes. People have different reasons for taking the classes though concerns about the economy and other recent news are some of the reasons he’s heard for people becoming more interested in owning a gun and gun safety. Lately they’ve also seen a lot more women enrolling in their classes as well, Rushing said.