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Concealed carry permits, gun sales spike after shooting

While it might seem counterintuitive to go out and buy a gun after widespread coverage of a mass shooting, statistics indicate that the rate of concealed carry permits issued spiked in Ohio after one such event.

During the fourth quarter of 2012, the quarter in which the Dec. 21 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Conn. took place, there were 19,250 concealed carry permits issued or renewed in Ohio, according to statistics provided on Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s website. The first quarter of 2013 saw 37,761 permits issued or renewed, a 96 percent increase.

Adam Watkins, a professor in the criminal justice department at the University, said there tends to be a higher level of discussion about gun control after such tragedies, leading to people clamoring to try and get a permit before they feel it’s too late.

“I think most people would concede that it’s not especially difficult to be issued [a concealed carry permit],” Watkins said. “There is some concern that after these events there are going to be policy steps taken to make it more difficult to acquire one.”

Isaiah Loar, a Wood County deputy, said there’s a certain amount of fear caused by shootings, and people want to make sure they have something with which to defend themselves.

“They want something to protect themselves and their family,” Loar said. “It makes people think.”

This surge in concealed carry permits seems to be translating to the firearm industry itself. This past January, The Washington Times reported that several firearm manufacturers saw a sharp increase in profits in 2013, including Smith and Wesson seeing a 25 percent increase during the fiscal year ending on Oct. 31 over the previous fiscal year, and other major gun companies seeing increases meeting or exceeding those numbers.

This spike in profits for gun manufacturers comes in the wake of the aforementioned shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, after which national democrats made a push for stricter gun-control legislation. Among the democrats pushing for more stringent gun laws was President Barack Obama.

Jeff Kirian, owner of B&N Hunting Sports on Poe Rd., said after Obama expresses any sort of anti-gun view, his sales temporarily rise.

“People are afraid they’re not going to be able to get [a gun] anymore,” Kirian said. “They had their eye on something, they’re afraid they’re not going be able to get [it].”

Watkins said gun-related crimes are not generally committed by those with concealed-carry permits.

“If you look at the demographic profile of people that are issued concealed carry permits, it’s generally a group … that is at relatively low risk of falling victim to crime or being involved in crime,” Watkins said.

Loar mirrored this statement, and said the number of concealed carry holders who commit gun-related crimes is “generally a very low percentage.”

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