MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Firing ranges in the Twin Cities are seeing a surge in business and gun permit applications in metro area counties are again on the rise after the nation’s latest high-profile mass shooting.
In Anoka County, new applications for concealed carry permits nearly doubled in the days after the Dec. 2 killings of 14 people in San Bernardino, California. The county north of Minneapolis saw new applications for concealed carry permits jump from up to 20 a day to around 30 to 40 a day, in the days after the California attack, the Star Tribune (https://strib.mn/1NjgDin ) reported.
In the southeast metro, Dakota County received about 26 new applications a day in the three days after the shooting. That’s up from the 15 a day the county averaged this year through November. And in Minnesota’s most populous county, Hennepin, where Minneapolis is the county seat, 167 new applications were received from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7, compared with 90 over the same period last year. That includes 70 new applications on the Monday after the San Bernardino shooting.
Gun sales have spiked nationwide after other mass shootings in recent years. After 20 children and six adults were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut in December 2012, FBI background checks for firearms purchases soared to a record 21 million in 2013. This year the FBI already had processed nearly 20 million checks going into December - up 6 percent from a year ago.
The number of Minnesota residents with gun permits also has risen since Sandy Hook. According to the Minnesota Association of Defensive Firearm Instructors, residents in the state with gun permits jumped from 114,774 in January 2013 to 208,190 as of Oct. 31 this year.
Some are expecting a new statewide surge.
“I would bet that our folks that put on conceal-and-carry classes will be very busy over the next couple of months,” Scott County Sheriff Kevin Studnicka said. The sheriff said Friday he had received 80 new applications to carry firearms in the week since the California attack.
Jeff Monson, whose Bill’s Gun Shop & Range has five locations in the metro, North Dakota and Wisconsin, said his business doubled in less than 48 hours after the California attack and has been steady since. Monson said training classes and even weekday morning gun-range sessions have filled up.
Heightened interest in gun ownership results from people feeling insecure after mass shootings, said Roger Hird, who co-owns the Burnsville Rifle and Pistol Range.
“The simple fact of the matter is most police officers will tell you when seconds count, they’re a minute away,” Hird said. “People are realizing they have to be responsible for their own safety.”
But Heather Martens of Protect Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that advocates for gun safety, disputes the notion that being armed is an effective solution to being caught in a public shooting.
“That has never happened,” Martens said. “It’s a fantasy that’s being peddled to people that they can stop mass shootings and terror attacks if they just carry guns around.”
Information from: Star Tribune, https://www.startribune.com
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