Oregon Sheriff Pat Garret’s letter to his constituents [after the jump] indicates an unmistakeable trend throughout the United States: applications for concealed carry permits are soaring. This is not new; Americans’ desire for armed personal protection spikes after every high profile spree killing. But the scope and scale of the post-Sandy Hook surge is unprecedented. Although tiny in absolute terms, the number of concealed carry weapons (CCW) licence applications hitting Garrett’s desk are triple their normal volume. As with firearms sales, CCW licenses require an electronic inquiry to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) system. NICS has been sputtering under the weight of requests. Two nights ago, it crashed. Service has been restored but, in many important ways, America’s gun culture will never be the same. And I mean that in the nicest possible way . . . [h/t TG]
The recent shootings in Clackamas and Connecticut are on everyone’s mind. We normally receive 12 applications for new concealed handgun licenses per day; on Monday we received 45, plus stacks of renewals for permits that have been inactive for months.
We are also receiving questions about school safety and how citizens should react in a shooter situation. It is clear that many feel a loss of security and control. One way to cope is to take action to control variables within your reach. Several ideas are offered in this issue, but I would like to ask you personally to take one action now.
Review gun safety in your home. In the two recent shootings, guns were not secured in homes. The shooter in Oregon used a semi-automatic AR-15 that he stole from a home where he spent the night. The shooter from Conecticut took a semi-automatic AR-15, a Glock 10mm, and a Sig Sauer 9mm from his mother. In March another tragedy occurred when young boy found his father’s handgun hidden under the driver’s seat. Even people who are known to be careful should revisit habits that may have relaxed over time.
Ensure you have gunlocks for every gun you own or control. Every gun purchased from a licensed gun dealer must be sold with a lock. Trigger locks are model specific, whereas cable locks work on handguns or long guns. The locks not only secure the weapon from children, but they cannot be operated unless unlocked by key. At $3-5, they make great stocking stuffers! Gun safes or locking racks also make thoughtful gifts.
My staff and I wish you the joy of time spent with loved ones and a heart filled with peace. Our thoughts continue to be with all the families and loved ones affected by the recent tragedies.
Sheriff Pat Garrett