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Rowan Sheriff: Gun permits on the rise first half of year

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Gun purchase permits obtained through the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office have increased by 40 percent in the first six months of this year over last year.

According to Sheriff Kevin Auten, this year there have been 2,782 purchase permits as of June 30, and last year there were 1,983 sold in the same time frame.

Auten said 1,377 new concealed handgun permits were issued in the first six months of this year, compared to 741 permits in 2015, increasing by 46 percent.

“We have renewed 173 more concealed handgun permits in first six months of this year than last year,” Auten said.

There were 656 concealed handgun permit renewals this year.

Citizens have to have a purchase permit in order to buy a gun from a gun dealer, pawn shop or individual, said Sheriff’s Capt. John Sifford.

Sheriff Auten said 2,033 citizens have visited the Rowan Sheriff’s satellite office in Landis this year to either obtain or renew a concealed handgun permit; 431 citizens have been to the Landis office to apply for purchase permits.

There have been 821 people who went to the Salisbury office to apply for purchase permits; 349 citizens have applied online for their purchase permits and visited either the Landis office or the Salisbury office to pick up their permits.

A total of 2,782 purchase permits were issued from January to June of 2016, and in the same time frame in 2015 there was 1,983 purchase permits issued, or 799 more total permits.

Auten said earlier this year the violent climate in the country leads people to become gun owners. When violent crimes occur anywhere in the U.S. or abroad, people tend to fear for their own safety, he said.

On June 12, there were 49 people killed at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla. after gunman Omar Mateen fired into the crowded club and injured 53 others. In June alone, the Rowan Sheriff’s Office had a record 271 people seek new concealed carry permits.

In June 2015 there were 102 people who sought concealed carry permits.

Auten said people just want to protect themselves.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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