The number of concealed carry permits issued in the state of West Virginia each year has quadrupled over the past five years.
County sheriffs’ departments issued 11,160 concealed carry permits in 2009, Logan Banner writes. In 2013, that number increased to 44,981. The biggest jump came between 2012 and 2013, when the number of permits shot up by over 15,000, up from 29,712 in 2012.
According to Logan Banner, those numbers, which were compiled by the West Virginia State Police, are only for permits issued annually. A CCW permit is valid for five years. All told, 126,514 concealed carry permits have been issued in the five years between from 2009 to 2013.
Authorities say the increase can be attributed to several different factors, including recent violent incidents and the nationwide debate over gun control.
As Logan Banner reports, law enforcement officials say they aren’t worried about the increase.
“What you have to remember is these are law-abiding citizens going through the proper process,” said Lt. Michael Baylous, spokesman for the West Virginia State Police. “The criminals don’t go through the proper process to get a permit.
“Do we encounter more people in traffic stops who have weapons? That might be fair to say,” Baylous said. “But nine times out of 10, they do the right thing and inform us they’re carrying.”
According to Logan Banner, Baylous credits “high-profile violent crimes” with providing an incentive for people to carry a handgun for protection.
“It’s clear to me, just from the position I’m in, the moral fabric of our country seems to be wearing thin, and you see more heinous acts being committed each day,” he said. “(Carrying a concealed weapon) is a personal choice, and I see why more people might be making that choice.”
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