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July 25, 2012 at 3:41 PM

King County sees spike in concealed handgun applications after Colorado shootings

On Monday, the first business day after 12 people were killed by a gunman inside a suburban Denver movie theater, the King County Sheriff’s Office says the number of applications for concealed handgun licenses has jumped.

The sheriff’s office said it processed 41 new concealed pistol licenses on Monday, 22 more than it processed the previous Monday. On Friday before the shootings in Aurora, Colo., a total of 29 applications were made, says sheriff’s spokeswoman Sgt. Cindi West.

“Whenever there’s a big major, tragic event like what happened in Colorado, there will be a bump in people seeking permits. That’s what we suspect the reason is,” West said.

John Clarke, a firearms instructor at Wade’s Eastside Gun Shop in Bellevue, said, “We haven’t seen any uptake in our business the last couple of days. In general, summers are slow at the gun store. It’s probably because people go water skiing or mow their lawns in the nice weather.”

Clarke said that sales are up at the shop this year compared with 2011, something he attributes to the rise of violence across the region. Clarke also said that an uptick in sales is not unusual during presidential election years.

Dave Workman, editor of TheGunMag.com and a local gun-rights advocate, said in an email that “distance does not matter when people are concerned about personal protection.”

According to The Associated Press, background checks for gun purchases spiked 41 percent after the Colorado shootings.

In the four days after the July 20 shooting, dealers submitted 3,647 requests for state background checks required to buy a firearm, said Susan Medina, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

That’s 41 percent more than the 2,583 requests during the same four days the prior week and a 38 percent increase over the 2,636 checks during the first Friday-to-Monday period in July.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Bellevue, Colorado shootings, concealed firearms

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