Gun-Permit Applications in Newtown Soar

by Ian Tuttle

Newtown, Conn., is still recovering from December’s tragic massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School — and it appears that many residents no longer want to depend strictly on police protection. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Through July 24, more than 200 people in Newtown have received new local pistol permits, according to a review of local records, surpassing the 171 new permits issued for all of last year. Such permits are prerequisites for Connecticut permits that allow people to purchase and carry pistols as well as rifles or shotguns. . . .

So far this year, through July 24, more than 91,000 guns were authorized for sale statewide. At that pace, the state will surpass last year’s total by October.

Nationwide, gun makers had sales of $4.15 billion in 2012, up 48% from $2.8 billion in 2011, according to estimates from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade association that is based in Newtown. . . . 

According to a local gun vendor, residents rushed to purchase guns before Connecticut legislation passed following the Newtown shooting added more than 100 models to a statewide gun ban. The legislation took effect April 5.

“We were just swamped from January all the way through April 4,” said Victor Benson, 55, who owns a gun shop in New Milford. “I’ve seen a couple guys come to my shop, and the permits were still warm from the laminator.”

The significant increase in local pistol permits in a town particularly sensitive to gun violence could be interpreted as a rebuke to President Obama, who pushed unsuccessfully for strict national gun-control measures earlier this year, and to Connecticut and its augmented restrictions.