Impact of election may have sparked increase in permit to carry numbers

Published 11:32 am Sunday, March 5, 2017

Applications for permits to carry a gun jumped by 60 percent in Mower County in 2016 — a hike, some say, that is a direct result of the 2016 presidential campaign.

The jump in Mower County mirrors almost exactly the percentage increase for the entire state.

Sheriff’s departments reported granting 71,156 permits to carry firearms last year in Minnesota, a nearly 60 percent increase over the number of permits issued in 2015, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in its annual report.

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“We knew it was a hot button issue” during the campaign season, said Mower County Sheriff Teresa Amazi, whose office handles all gun permits.

ah-03-05-aShe was referring to a perception held by many that the election of Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would affect the ability to carry guns.

Amazi is quick to note that “that’s my personal perspective,” but added that applications also began to slow once Donald Trump, a gun supporter, became president.

Permits issued jumped from 312 in 2015 to 514 in 2016.

Just the mention of changes to gun laws during a campaign cycle affects permits and gun sales, said Craig Coordes, who owns Coordes Gun Shop in rural Austin.

“It happens every election year, no matter who is running. I’ve been in the business for 20 years and you see it every time.”

Elections bring out discussions of gun controls and that translates to more permits being issued.

“People are afraid they’re going to take the right to carry away,” Coordes said.

Gun sales were brisk throughout the Obama presidency, he added, but have slowed considerably since Trump was elected.

“Sales will be soft for awhile, but it will be good in the long run,” he said. Prices on guns will eventually come down as demand slows and that will eventually trigger more sales.

The annual statistics seem to agree that elections affect gun permits.

The BCA’s annual report shows that four years ago, permits hiked from 192 in 2012 to 471 in 2013. Applications fell to 308 the following year.

What hasn’t changed is who is applying for the permits — older adult males.

The largest male group to make application in 2016 falls into the 60-69-year-old range, according to the BCA’s report. Over the past five years, an over-50 group has led the way for all gun permits. The second-largest age range was from 21-29.