Number of concealed gun permits shoots upPublished 1:05am Saturday, January 16, 2010
By AARON MUELLER
Niles Daily Star
Steve Farr, co-owner of Farr and Son’s Sporting Goods in Niles, said he has seen an increase in gun sales in the past year – especially after one significant event.
“It’s just speculation, but within seven days of Obama being elected, our gun sales went through the roof,” he said. “Rumors were flying around about what he was going to do. But they all went away, smoke in the wind.”
The number of applications and approvals for concealed weapons permits doubled this past year in the state of Michigan, according to Concealed Pistol Licensure Annual Report that tracked statistics from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009.
In that time period, 73,105 CCW applications were received, with 66,446 approved, which is more than double the 33,411 applications and 26,578 approvals last year.
The increase was just as great locally. After receiving only 371 applications in Berrien County in 2008, there were 901 applications and 751 approvals in 2009.
Patricia Legatt, the president of the Bend of the River Conservation Club in Niles, is a concealed carry instructor, teaching classes that those applying for a CCW must pass. She said within 60 days of the presidential election, class sizes quadrupled.
“It’s a political mood in general that our second amendment rights have come under attack,” she said. “Over the previous eight years, we’d had a conservative president. He was pro-gun. Then we had the change in control of the legislature and a new president which hurt (gun) owners’ rights.”
Farr also believes people’s safety concerns play a factor.
“With the amount of break-ins we’ve had in the area, people are starting to get scared,” he said.
Larry Bjork, a gun owner and Edwardsburg Reserve police officer, agrees.
“With more guns out there, it’s harder for people to walk up and steal,” he said. “It’s a safety factor. It’s all about people taking care of themselves. Police can’t be everywhere at once.”