December sees uptick in handgun permits in Rowan

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2013

SALISBURY — Authorities saw a significant increase in handgun purchase permits in December, records show.
Rowan deputies issued 678 handgun purchase permits between their Salisbury and Landis offices — an uptick of more than 200 from November and up from 293 in October.
Records show 312 applications were completed in December. Each application can account for up to five handgun purchase permits.
But ascertaining the reason behind the boom is borderline impossible, said Rowan County Sheriff’s Office Capt. John Sifford.
“I don’t know how much of that’s Christmas and how much of that is concern that (legislators) may enact laws that may make it very hard for a law-abiding citizen to purchase a weapon,” Sifford said.
Sifford, who personally reviews handgun applications for the county, said recent local gun shows, the presidential election and the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary?School in Connecticut that killed 26, including 20 children, also factored into the rise in applications.
“Historically, we always seem to have an increase in December because people do purchase them as gifts,” Sifford said. “I think in this particular year the election outcome played some part in it.”
Gun advocates feared that Democratic President Barack Obama would push for tighter restrictions on firearms in his second term, even before a gunman used an assault weapon to attack elementary school students Dec. 14.
“And with the shooting in Connecticut, I do know that we definitely experienced an increase in purchase permit applications after that,” Sifford said. “We’ve had a lot here in the last several weeks.”
Following the elementary school massacre, at least one Salisbury gun owner said semi-automatic assault-style rifles were being purchased before the firearms were even delivered to the store.
The owner attributed the sales boom to a fear lawmakers would enact new gun-control policies.