Concealed handgun permits soar in St. Louis Area

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Conceal carry permits could set record
By Susan Weich
Missourians are rushing to arm themselves with concealed weapons at a record pace so far this year.

Criminologists and law enforcement officials say the increase may be driven by fear of increased crime due to the recession and the perception of potential loss of gun rights from a new Democratic president.

"People just don't feel safe, whether it's with the political structure or the economic situation," said Noelle Fearn, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at St. Louis University.

In the St. Louis area, the surge is most marked in St. Charles, Warren, Lincoln and Jefferson counties, where applications for the first four months of 2009 are between 114 percent and 144 percent higher than for the same period last year, according to data provided by sheriff's departments.

In St. Louis, applications are up 49 percent this year, and St. Louis County's have risen 53 percent. Illinois does not allow concealed carry.

In Missouri, no central database exists for new permits, but the Highway Patrol tracks the mandatory criminal background checks it performs for new applicants.

The patrol did 14,333 checks in 2004, the first year the permits were issued in Missouri. The number never came close until 2008, when it spiked dramatically to 18,466. However, through the third week of May this year, the number of checks had already reached 14,088. Most applicants pass the background check and get a permit. . . .

Thanks as always to Tony Troglio for sending me this link.



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