Spokane police have been so overwhelmed by concealed pistol license applications that the department had to stop taking new applications Monday afternoon.
The police records unit, which processes applications and fingerprints people seeking a permit, has seen “easily twice as many” people as normal applying for permits following last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, police spokeswoman Teresa Fuller said.
Fuller said the department also saw a spike in applications in 2013, the year following a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. About 16,000 people applied for licenses that year, she said, versus 9,800 last year.
The jump in applications led police to stop fingerprinting people who arrived after 1 p.m. Monday to ensure they could get through the line that had formed before the end of the day. Fuller said anyone seeking a license this week should be prepared to wait in line to be fingerprinted.
Jeremy Ball, the general manager of Sharp Shooting Indoor Range and Gun Shop, said he’s seen an uptick in business over the last week. The store offers classes on concealed weapons, and enrollment has increased in those, too, he said.
Ball was hesitant to attribute the increases to anything in particular, noting that he usually sees an increase in sales near holidays.
People’s reasoning for getting a concealed weapons permit focused around self-defense, especially from home intrusions.
“With all the things going on now you have to protect yourself,” said Dyllon Counts, one of about eight men in line to be fingerprinted at 12:30 p.m. Monday. This will be the first concealed weapons permit for Counts, who just turned 21.
Kit Waddle was renewing his permit, which had lapsed.
“I’m too old to physically confront someone,” he said.
Waddle said nothing in particular encouraged him to renew the permit. Instead, it just seemed like common sense.
“Do you have a smoke alarm in your home?” he said. “Why would I not get a permit?”
Another man, who asked not to be identified, said property crime pushed him to get a permit.
Riley Fencl also just turned 21. He said he’s grown up around guns. For him it’s a “rite of passage,” and he’s getting a permit so he can protect himself.
“It’s just the age that we live in,” he said. “I already have my whole rig and everything set up.”
Staff writer Rachel Alexander contributed to this report.
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