‘We’re selling anything we have’
Guilford gun permits applications
December 2012: 1,031
December 2011: 724
All of 2012: 2,469
All of 2011: 1,546
All of 2012: 4,582
All of 2011: 4,000
Requests for gun permits have surged recently, following the school shootings last month in Newtown, Conn., and fears of tougher gun laws.
In December, 1,031 people applied for handgun purchase permits in Guilford County, compared with 724 people who applied in December 2011, according to the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office.
The department took 39 permit applications on each of the two days following the Connecticut shootings, which left 20 schoolchildren and six faculty and staff members dead. Deputies see a daily average of about 18 to 20 permit requests, said sheriff’s Lt. R.R. Hamilton.
Fear of a ban
North Carolina law requires that handgun purchasers get a permit from their local sheriff’s office, which performs a criminal background check and searches to see whether a person has been transported to a mental health facility. The permit must be presented to a gun shop before the purchase can be made.
Such permits are not required for shotguns and rifles, although federal law does prevent felons, certain types of domestic abusers and people with a history of mental illness from possessing long guns.
President Barack Obama is expected to advocate proposals aimed at combatting gun violence, including a ban on assault weapons and a ban on high-capacity magazines, as well as expanded background checks.
“Some of it’s probably due to either fear of a Newtown-type of shooting or concern that if they don’t get one now, someone’s going to change the laws on how you get guns,” said Hamilton.
Concealed carry weapon permits surging
Local gun shops have had a crush of would-be purchasers over the past month. At The Gun Vault on N. Main Street in High Point, “sales have been way up” since Obama’s re-election, and have been “exceptionally high” since the shootings, said Sharon Collins, one of the store’s owners.
AR rifles and various automatic weapons have been popular sellers, she said.
“I think people are just afraid of some of the changes that will be made, and they want to be sure they have the weapons that they want. We’re selling anything we have,” said Collins.
Davidson County Sheriff David Grice said his office took in 60 pistol permit applications one day in December. They see about eight such requests in a typical day, he said. December capped off a busy year of processing applications in Davidson. Grice said 2,469 permits were requested during 2012, up from 1,546 in 2011. Concealed carry weapon permit applications also surged, from 1,381 in 2011 to 2,007 in 2012.
Selling out of ammo
Randolph County has seen similar trends.
There were 1,511 concealed carry permit applications in 2012, compared to 1,147 in 2011. In Randolph, concealed carry permit holders don’t have to obtain purchase permits, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Patricia Carawan.
“More people got concealed carry permits, not because they have a gun — they’re using that permit to obtain a weapon and then carry it concealed,” said Carawan.
She said the office has been overwhelmed processing the volume of applications that have come in and that the vetting process is taking longer than the usual 45 days.
People are also stocking up on ammunition, Collins said. The store took in a shipment of 9 mmm handgun ammunition one day last week and was sold out by the end of the day. Another popular caliber, .22 rifle ammunition, is also running short, she said.