Gun permit applications soar to 10-year high in Olmsted County - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Gun permit applications soar to 10-year high in Olmsted County


Gun ownership is on a dramatic rise in Rochester and Olmsted County. The number of permits issued has jumped more than 250 percent from last November to this November and the Sheriff's Office is swamped trying to sort through dozens of applications.

It's a display of second amendment rights that's been seen across the country in the wake of mass shootings and politicians discussing gun control. And for those we talked to on Monday, it's all about personal safety.

"This is extremely high,” said Chief Deputy Brian Howard of the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office. “We haven't seen numbers like these in the ten years that she's been doing these. This is just a large number of permits for us."

In November of 2014, 58 permits to purchase guns were issued. In November of this year, they issued 146, nearly three times as many.

Permits to carry were more than 200 percent higher than last November.

55 were issued in 2014, compared to 116 this year, directly reflecting a reaction to a violent few months around the world.

"I don't know if it's a combination of what's been happening with San Bernadino and what's recently happened, and the political climate. Any time there's an election, when the elections are changing, it seems like we get a lot, too, but again not to the extreme we've seen this year,” said Howard.

The headlines are a factor in Betty McClellan's decision to buy a gun.

"Well I just think with all the mass shootings and the way the world's going nowadays, it's good to have a little bit of protection,” said McClellan as she filled out her permit to purchase Monday afternoon.

She plans to purchase a handgun, practice with it, then apply for a permit to carry. For her, it's about self defense.

"It's rapidly moving. This whole country is just rapidly forward going to a lot more violence, you just don't know what's going to happen next,” she said.

She'll be just one of many others pushing Olmsted County's gun stats to their peak, already on track to exceed last year's December numbers 15 days early.

'If it keeps going like this, we'll far exceed them. I mean, if we get this many a day. This is only six days here. If it continues at that level, we'll definitely pass last December's,” said Howard.

Last December, 66 permits to carry were issued in Olmsted county. So far this month, they've already issued 60 with plenty of business days to go.

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