Trend on the rise

Published 3:01 pm Sunday, February 14, 2016

Recent numbers show national events have a tendency to drive up permit to carry numbers around the country, and Mower County hasn’t been immune to the effects.

In Minnesota, the number of permits surged in January. There are at least 221,712 active permit holders since the beginning of 2016, according to a monthly data report from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).

The largest state spike was in March 2013 with 7,213 active permit holders, just a few months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

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Mower County jumped from 167 new permits in 2012 to 409 in 2013.

Jumps in numbers are typical after those types of events, Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi said.



“Those kind of national events really drive permits to carry and we saw a substantial increase in those because of issues happening in the United States,” Amazi said. “And anytime there is a presidential declaration that they are going to get control over guns and gun sales, they go through the roof.”

Mower County’s new permits dipped back 276 in 2014 and to 292 in 2015.

Minnesota is not a concealed carry state, meaning the permit to carry allows people to have a handgun on them without concealing it. However, Amazi said she urges people to conceal it when they apply for the permit.

“You may walk past a daycare or a school and certainly those are the things that drive calls to law enforcement that someone has a gun. And we don’t know until we identify that individual if they have a permit or not,” Amazi said.

To obtain the permit, participants must take a class, have a valid driver’s license with their current address, submit a certificate of completion and have a background check and mental health check done. If that data is all clear, then a permit to carry is issued.

Permit to carry permits are valid for five years and can be renewed after that time.

Mower County is also getting software to print out hard cards for permit holders, rather than laminating the cards. Several other counties in Minnesota also have the same software to print them.

—The Minneapolis Star Tribune contributed to this report through Tribune New Service.