- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Requests for concealed gun permits increased by nine-fold in San Bernardino County in the weeks after a husband and wife went on a shooting rampage there that claimed 14 victims, newly released data revealed.

The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department received 75 applications for concealed gun permits in the weekend after the Dec. 2 terror attack, up from an average of 10, the Desert Sun News reported on Tuesday this week.

Firearms sales and requests for concealed weapon permits have surged in the aftermath of previous mass shootings, and the numbers have continued to climb in the weeks since, the Desert Sun News said. Cindy Bachman, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, said that deputies received 750 applications, up from its monthly average of 80, by the end of December.

As a result of the influx, local law enforcement officials said residents can expect to wait upwards of eight months before finding out if their requests for concealed gun permits have been approved.

With a nationwide argument rekindled in the wake of the recent rampage, the gun debate lingers on in California as prospective owners are forced to sit idle, and gun opponents see yet another surge in sales spawned by a violent outburst.

“It’s ridiculous,” John R. Lott Jr., a pro-gun academic with the Crime Prevent Research Center, a Colorado-based nonprofit, told the Desert Sun News. “Most states in the country will get you a concealed carry permit within at least 60 days. What if you have a woman who is being stalked or threatened? What is she supposed to do? Wait a year and a half just to get an appointment?”

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon added that he had to reassign several employees and volunteers to the permit processing unit to handle the surge in requests, but nevertheless has begun scheduling appointments with applicants as far into the future as September.

“Eight months out is a long way for us,” the sheriff told Desert Sun. “I just can’t put enough staff down there. I don’t even have enough staff, or workspace, to be honest with you.”

Statistics concerning requests for concealed weapons permits in neighboring Riverside County have not yet been made available, but the Desert Sun News reported that appointments with applicants are being scheduled 10 months in advance.

“It’s been overwhelming,” Capt. David Teets of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department told the newspaper. “We have two folks who work in that department, and after the terror attacks, they were absolutely inundated with people wanting concealed weapons permits. We received hundreds of phone calls, voicemails and emails — likely upwards of one thousand in the two weeks afterwards.”

December 2015 was the second biggest month for gun sales in at least 20 years, surpassed only by the surge seen following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in late 2012, The New York Times said.

President Obama has attempted to implement gun-control measures in the wake of both tragedies, but he has faced opposition from Second Amendment advocates each time who have accused the White House of attempting to roll-back the right to bear arms.

“I believe in the Second Amendment, there written on paper, that guarantees the right to bear arms,” Mr. Obama said earlier this month in announcing executive action intended to make it harder for dangerous individuals to acquire firearms.

“No matter how many times people try to twist my words around, I taught constitutional law. I know a little bit about this. But I also believe that we can find ways to reduce gun violence consistent with the Second Amendment,” he said.

The Republican-controlled Congress has largely pushed back thus far, however, with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, saying in a statement recently that the president is “at a minimum subverting the legislative branch, and potentially overturning its will” with his actions.

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the perpetrators of last month’s attack at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, died during a shootout with police when they fled.

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