Gun permits: Washoe County sees rapid increase, California counties do not | SierraSun.com

Gun permits: Washoe County sees rapid increase, California counties do not

Luke Beasley
Sierra Sun

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. ” In regards to gun permits, the state line divides two very different tales.

With national reports showing an increase in gun purchases ” partly credited to the election of President Barack Obama and subsequent fears that the Democratic president will tighten gun control laws ” a spike in sales has equated in Washoe County in Nevada to the issuance of more concealed carry weapon permits. Meanwhile, Placer and Nevada counties in California saw no noticeable increase.

Data from the Washoe County records department indicate that 2,195 permits were issued in 2008, almost 1,000 more than in 2007 (1,267) and nearly equaling the combined total of the previous two years. Two periods in 2008, in particular, saw dramatic increases in the number of new concealed weapons permits issued.

In May of 2008, 354 new permits were issued after an average of about 160 in the preceding months ” largely due to the fear generated by the Brianna Denison kidnapping and murder, said public information officer Deputy Brooke Keast.

“That was a big jump,” Keast said. “We even got calls from parents whose kids went to the school, and they were trying to get the permits for their kids.”

Then, after Obama’s election in November, the number of new concealed permits issued in December climbed to 291, eight more than the combined total of the preceding two months. Still, Keast said, it can be difficult to identify a specific reason for the increase.

“It can be for any number of reasons,” Keast said. “People always want to know why, but we don’t ask for that ” why people are buying the weapons ” on the application, so it’s difficult to say.”

Statistical data was not provided by Nevada and Placer counties, but Placer County Sheriff Lt. Mark Reed said his office has kept busy with permit applications.

“We have had quite a few applications, but we have quite a few normally, so I can’t say that it’s on the rise from the past,” Reed said. “I do know that we generally fill up our interviews each week.”

Reed added just because applications may rise does not mean that more permits are being awarded. Applicants must show that they have good cause for the permit, generally by making a compelling case that they are in personal danger.

“If they can provide information that shows that they need to prtoect themselves or their family, that would be good cause,” Reed said. “But it has to be a legitimate concern, and something where they have put themselves in a position, through their work or whatever it may be, that they need the protection. An example might be a judge or a distrct attorney.”

Nevada County’s Shelli Netherby, the records and warrants supervisor, said she has seen no noticeable spike or accompanying coorelation. She described the application for permits as consistently erratic and unpredicatable.

“We may have zero applications one week and then get three or four the next,” Netherby said. “I haven’t seen a rise or a change in the justification for needing one. It seems that, with us anyway, that nothing has really changed.”