Concealed weapons permit requests skyrocket

Applications since tragedy are three times the monthly normal

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Concealed weapons permit applications in Kootenai County have spiked since the school shooting in Connecticut.

There have been 179 permits applied for since Dec. 12, according to the sheriff's office.

While the one-month anniversary of the tragedy is still a few days away, the sheriff's office processes an average of about 60 permit applications a month, Lt. Stu Miller said.

"We had one day in which there were 46 applications," Miller said. "That was way above any other day we had of people applying for concealed weapons permits."

Of the 179 total applications since the shooting, 144 have been for new permits and 35 have been for renewals.

One hundred sixteen permit applications have been approved and several are still pending. It has made for busy times at the processing department of the sheriff's office, Miller said.

"It's posed a few more challenges because of the increased flow of people," Miller said.

Miller said that while the school incident is a big reason for the permit application rise, he said more people are wanting to protect themselves and their acquaintances in general.

"It's a sign of the times," he said, adding that other tragedies and decisions have also played a role in the increase.

Miller said gun vendors are also swamped with business. Local legislators say gun rights are at the top of many citizens' political priorities.

The sheriff's office takes fingerprints of permit applicants, which are sent to the state for background checks. In addition to the application, applicants must show proof of gun safety training, including with hunter safety, a CWP class from a private firm or having been in the military.

The local sheriff's office accepts weapons permit applications on Wednesdays and Fridays.

Spokane County reports the number of applicants there have also jumped three to four times the amount per day compared to the numbers prior to the school incident.

Residents don't need a CWP to own a gun, just to keep it concealed.

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