More and more people across the country, the state and the county are getting permits to carry handguns.
There were 2,008 conceal and carry permits issued in Minnehaha County in all of 2008. There have already been 1,548 in 2009. The state of South Dakota issued 14,628 permits in 2008, and it's already hit 11,057 in 2009.
The clerk at the Minnehaha County Sheriff's office says she takes between 10 and 50 applications for a conceal and carry permit every day, and she says the number one reason people give is they're afraid their gun rights might be taken away.
"I feel that we need to act now if our rights are going to be protected," said Jordan Olson, who picked up his permit on Wednesday. ...
Meanwhile, in Florida:
Florida gun owners are grabbing up concealed-weapon permits at a record pace.
It might be concern for President Barack Obama's record on guns or fear that a bad economy will cause crime to rise, or reaction to last year's guns-at-work law. Or maybe a combination of all three is behind the rapid rise in applications for pistol-toting permits, state officials say.
"We're still sitting on about 50,000 applications," said Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson. "We're getting in about 14,000 or 15,000 a month and whenever they get a good slug out, they're getting another 15,000 in."
Bronson went to the Legislature last spring for authorization to hire 61 temporary employees — bringing the total to 202 — who have helped whittle down a backlog that then stood at 90,000 for all types of concealed-weapon permits. The backlog, alone, was roughly equal to all the applications received in 2008 — 90,331 — and the department received 75,520 applications in the first six months of this year.
That puts the state on pace for nearly 150,000 concealed-weapon permit applications this year. Most applications are approved, department spokesman Terence McElroy said, because the law allows any law-abiding gun owner to get a license. Few crooks are dumb enough to plunk down the $117 application fee if they have a felony record.
There were 607,977 active concealed-weapon permits as of July 31. Active permits jumped more than 16,000 in a single month. ...
Notice the sheer number of Florida permits, over half a million, which may reflect the excellent reciprocity / recognition accorded Florida permits, which are valid in many other states. A similar situation exists with Utah permits.