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Posted November 30, 2012 | comments 13 Comments

Concealed handgun permits climbing in counties

By Joe Beck

The number of concealed handgun permits issued in Warren and Frederick counties over the last 12 years has skyrocketed, and both counties already have set records for the number of permits issued this year, according to statistics compiled by clerks of circuit court.

The reasons for the increases, especially apparent in the last several years, are unclear to those who keep track of the information. But the trend is consistent with recent reports of gun dealers flooding the FBI with requests for criminal background checks on prospective buyers during Black Friday.

The FBI does not track gun sales, but the background checks are required with purchases made from dealers.

The Warren County Clerk of Circuit Court has counted a record high 535 handgun permits through Oct. 31 this year, eclipsing the previous record of 523 for all of 2009. The longterm trend since 2000 shows permits in Warren County jumping from 79 in 2000 to 404 in 2011.

Frederick County showed similar long and short-term trends. The 1,130 permits issued in 2012 as of Nov. 26 surpassed the previous yearly record of 951 set in 2008, according to the clerk's records. The records also show the county issued 118 permits in 2000 compared to 732 in 2011.

A story in USA Today earlier this week reported 154,873 calls to the FBI on Black Friday, a 20 percent increase over the previous one-day record for criminal background checks in 2011.

The story, quoting gun dealers, suggested President Obama's reelection as a possible explanation, despite criticism Obama received from gun control groups for signing bills into law allowing guns in national parks and on Amtrak. Obama did mention in the second presidential debate he was interested in "seeing if we can get an assault weapons ban reintroduced" as part of a broader "conversation" about sources of violence.

Mike North, manager at Virginia Pistols in Linden, said his store has been doing a brisk business since the president's reelection.

"We have handgun safety classes every weekend, and we're booked through Dec. 23," North said.

The classes, which are part of the process of obtaining a concealed handgun permit, tell only part of the story, North said.

His store submitted the names of 135 customers to the Virginia State Police for criminal background checks, he said, "and some of them bought two or three different firearms."

North said the reasons for the increase might be a bit more complicated than a backlash against Obama. He said firearms sales tend to spike in election seasons, regardless of who wins and which candidates are running.

"Right at election time, they start buying guns because nobody knows which way it is going to go," North said.

He said he is also seeing greater numbers of women worried about personal safety in a turbulent society buying firearms for themselves.

Jennifer Sims, the Warren County Clerk of Circuit Courts, said she had heard "talk on the street" from people worried that the president would seek new restrictions on gun ownership, thereby leading more people to buy handguns and seek concealed firearm permits.

But the weeks following Obama's reelection showed fewer Warren County applications for permits this year than in 2011. The 2012 total from Nov. 7 to Nov 26 showed 12 applications compared to 17 recorded during the same period in 2011.

While there have been years when the number of permits issued have dropped in Warren and Frederick counties, the overall upward trend is unmistakable.

"It just seems like they're never-ending," Sims said. "Every time we send a stack up to the judge for approval, it seems like there's 15 or 20."

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

13 Comments |

    "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote." (Benjamin Franklin)

    I really did not read the NVD article. I put it up where I have my hamburger/onion/garlic mish mush cooking genltly on low heat on my stove. It is all simmering.

    Sometimes in our lifes we may need a fire arm. Usually just to kill a deer, or maybe a Coyote. Sometimes when you are asleep at night and here the dog growling and a ruffling at the door at 3 a.m. the fire arm may be of comfort.

      The artical refers to number of folks who want to carry a weapon in their purse or under their jacket while they are out in the grocery store, restaurants, malls, etc. Far as I know, you don't need a concealed carry permit for the handgun in your nightstand or the one you carry into the woods when you're hunting. I already feel safer when I take my grandson into the FoodLion or Walmart knowing that so many average citizens are carrying weapons.

    "talk on the street" from people worried that the president would seek new restrictions on gun ownership

    This is nothing more than excellent marketing (scare tactics) by the NRA with the help of people like NRA VP Wayne LaPierre, Ted Nugent (who more than likely is/was on NRA's payroll) and the Limbaugh-likes in the country.

    No American will relinquish their Second Amendment rights; no American president will ever call for them to do so.

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. ― Dwight D. Eisenhower

    "In my dreams I hear again the crash of guns, the rattle of musketry, the strange, mournful mutter of the battlefield." ~ Douglas MacArthur

    Elevate those guns a little lower. ~ Andrew Jackson


    "Think twice before you vote." - Mitt Romney

    "Those thoughtless fools." - Barack Obama

    We have the right to protect ourselves. Just because someone feels that they need to be on even footing with the bad guys does not make the an idiot, crazy, reckless and it damn sure doesn't make them a trigger happy paranoid freek. I have a hand gun and a permit and you can bet I WILL SHOOT if someone shoots at me or my family/. Only a fool would go to a gun fight with only his words. If you are in a shop and somebody start shooting, I won't be the one cowering in the corner praying I don't die. I'll be the one in the store waiting for the bad guy to walk around the corner so I can get a good shot off. Bang problem solved.

    "Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six"
    Seen on a t-shirt at the old Copperhead Flag Shop


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