Concealed carry permits took off in December

The number of concealed carry permits issued by the circuit clerks of court in Shenandoah and Warren counties soared in December.

Warren County’s 142 permits in December marked a sharp increase from the 47 permits issued the month before. The story was the same in Shenandoah County where the clerk of circuit court authorized 50 concealed carry permits in November and 90 in December. No monthly totals were available from Frederick County.

Concealed carry permits allow people to carry hidden handguns with them in public areas.

Daryl Funk, clerk of Warren County’s Circuit Court said the people seeking permits in his office reflected a broad section of the county.

“It seemed to be a good pretty good cross section of our population, men and women, young and old,” Funk said. “It didn’t seem to be any one group of people I noticed.”

The spike in December came at the end of a year when the issuance of concealed carry permits rose to 722 in Warren County from a total of 660 in 2014.

Funk said he couldn’t explain the reason for the increase in either December or for 2015 overall. Some national research has noted a correlation between interest in concealed carry permits and certain news events. For example, data from Google showed a record high level of search engine interest in concealed carry permits following the terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2.

“I think it’s clear there was a significant increase in the number of people applying for concealed carry permits, but I don’t want to speculate on their exact motivations,” Funk said, adding that applicants were “generally pleasant, in a good mood and happy to be exercising their rights.”

The number of concealed carry permits issued in Shenandoah County in December was more than double the total for November, but the 12-month number for 2015 fell to 567 from 761 the year before.

Frederick County’s total of concealed carry permits dropped slightly in 2015 to 1,318 compared to 1,336 in 2014.

The overall total of concealed carry weapon permits in Warren, Shenandoah and Frederick counties decreased in 2015 to 2,607, 150 fewer than the 2,757 recorded in 2014.

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