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Applications for Concealed Handgun License permits increase dramatically
Typical class size for CHL permits has doubled
January 28, 2013
As gun control proposals emerge and concerns about losing Second Amendment rights escalate, Crook County has seen a significant spike in concealed handgun license applications.
“They have (increased) — dramatically,” said Crook County Sheriff Jim Hensley.
Of the applications taken locally, the most eye-catching change Hensley has witnessed is the uptick in people seeking first-time licensure.
“It used to be that all of them coming in were renewals,” he said. “I’ll have to say now . . . I look at the appointment sheets and they are half and half.”
Of the scheduled weekly appointments for handgun licensure in Crook County from Dec. 28, 2012 through Feb. 13, 44 are for renewal and 47 are for new licenses.
To obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL), an applicant must clear several hurdles.
“They have to show proof that they have had training in handgun safety,” Hensley explained. “Then they can come in (to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office) and they can apply for the concealed handgun license. Their fingerprints are taken (and) and check is run on them for their criminal history.”
Prineville Police Captain Boyd teaches classes for people who apply for the concealed handgun licenses, and he has witnessed a spike in recent weeks as well.
“As a trainer, it has gone crazy,” he said. Typically, during the winter months, Boyd teaches a monthly class with around eight or nine applicants. For February, he will teach multiple classes with about 20 people per course.
“We see a lot of couples in their 30s,” he said of the classes, “but the majority of the people in classes are folks who are at retirement age that are concerned about protecting themselves.”
Boyd has sensed apprehension among members of the public in the wake of new gun control proposals, and believes that is driving the elevated quantity of CHL applicants.
“They are concerned that if they don’t do this right away, somehow that door is going to be closed to them.”
Hensley added that Oregon recently passed a new law that protects the identity of CHL holders, and that may have encouraged more people to apply for licensure.
As far as firearm sales go, Hensley could not cite any specific data, but has heard that local residents have begun to stock up in the event certain weapons or ammunition is banned.
“Hearing the talk, the prices of firearms — especially the ones that they want to ban — the price on them has gone through the roof,” he said. “You can’t find them to buy. They can’t keep them on the shelf (because) they are selling so fast.”
Hensley said he does not personally subscribe to the stock-up mentality when it comes to gun control concerns, and he does not believe others should either.
“I think things are just going to flow normal,” he said, referencing other gun control proposals or changes in the past. Hensley instead believes the best way for citizens to act on their concerns is to contact their lawmakers.
“Let them know how you feel,” he said. “That is the democratic process. That is why we elect those people.”