Cass County sees increase in concealed carry permits

CASS COUNTY — The demand for firearms in Cass County is on the rise.

According to data provided by Cass County Clerk Monica McMichael, the county clerk’s office processed 137 new concealed carry permits from May 1 to July 23, up from 43 permits during the same time frame last year.

“That is the biggest jump I’ve ever seen,” McMichael said. “In presidential election years, we always see a jump, but nothing like this. Brand new applicants are taking the course and want to conceal carry for their protection. It’s not renewals. It’s brand new applicants taking the course and want to conceal carry for their protection.”

McMichael said that many Michigan counties are not processing fingerprints, which are required in order to conceal carry. McMichael noted that the Cass County Sheriff’s Department was one of the first in the state to begin processing fingerprints after initially stopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System conducted 109,466 firearm background checks from Michigan in July, compared to 47,110 in January.

“The Michigan State Police run our background checks,” McMichael said. “It’s always a thorough check. Things have been delayed a bit because the state police are working from home, but we’re cranking those permits out within four to six weeks of applying.”

Local businesses have felt the impact of the increased interest in firearms. Johnathon Carver owns and operates Charlie Foxtrot Shooting Complex, 24401 Davis Lake Street, Edwardsburg, which offers patrons tactical and self-defense training for both at home and outside. An U.S. Army veteran and Indiana police officer, Carver believes that current events, including the ongoing social justice protests and the upcoming presidential election, are the primary factors in the increase of permits.

“Mostly it’s the civil discourse going on around the world,” Carver said. “Folks may have had a gun for a while but now are going out to get their concealed carry permits and making sure everything is in order. Folks are looking to get the necessary training, as well.”

To meet the high demand for services, Charlie Foxtrot has changed its schedule.

“In the last two months, we’ve been holding three classes per month,” Carver said. “We limit the classes to 12 to 13 students to keep a small instructor to student ratio. But because of that, we had to add two more sessions to meet the demand.”

One of the biggest trends Carver has noticed in recent months is the increase in women seeking firearm training. According to Carver, last week’s concealed carry class featured a 50-50 split between male and female participants.

“There has been a big uptick in women taking our classes,” Carver said. “In the past, men would bring their wives and girlfriends and teach them how to shoot, but now there are women getting guns on their own, wanting to train of their own volition.”

Carver does not expect the demand for firearms and firearms training to die down.

“We’re definitely going to see this for the remainder of the year,” Carver said. “Everyone getting firearms will be taking classes. People who have never held or shot a gun are coming out.”

Dowagiac

SMC president provides school update to Rotary

Dowagiac

Silver Creek Township considers setback amendment, short-term rentals

Buchanan

Michigan Gateway Community Foundation presents check to aid Little Bucks Bookmobile

Education

Edwardsburg Intermediate School named one of the best schools in nation

Dowagiac

COVID-19 cases surge in Cass County

Cass County

Cassopolis teen partners with animal control to advertise adoptable animals with pizza orders

News

Harvest Market brings vendors together

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan reports 119,597 cases, 6,700 deaths

Buchanan

Buchanan City Commission candidates partake in forum

Buchanan

Buchanan Planning Commission considers multi-million dollar development

Cass County

Cass County Animal Control to host Empty the Shelters event

Business

Swirlyz Frozen Yogurt closes for the season due to COVID-19 setbacks

Buchanan

Local orchard offering fresh products, cider for fall

Cass County

Committee formed to review Lewis Cass ISD name

Dowagiac

JMG Student of the Year starts second year at SMC

Dowagiac

Hale’s True Value Hardware donates paint, cleaning supplies to DUS

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien County announces additional COVID-19 death

Buchanan

Buchanan welcomes new city manager

Brandywine Education

Performing arts organization creates scholarship fund

Dowagiac

Positive COVID-19 tests force cancellation of Moose Riders’ Cass County Cancer Service Ride

Berrien County

Veterinarian ticketed following discovery of dead animals on his property

Dowagiac

SMC to produce radio show featuring Dewey Lake monster

Business

Niles Apple Festival Harvest Market aims to showcase vendors, food trucks

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Michigan sees 117,910 cases, 6,680 deaths