Newtown police say that they’re processing 211 gun permit requests this year, a noticeable uptick from 2012’s 171 requests and double the 2011 figure of 99 requests, the New York Daily News reports.
Residents fearing stricter gun control are applying in droves. Most of the permits were requested in April before the state cracked down on legal weapons, police said.
“The fact that they were reeling in and squeezing more laws made me think, ‘You know what? I want my gun permit,’ ” said 66-year-old resident Nancy Ellis, who has recently taken shooting lessons. “I want to exercise my right.”
Ellis pressed on, saying she would want to protect herself when faced with an intruder. “What am I going to do? Throw water at him? Get a knife? Go get a pair of scissors? When he has a gun potentially?”
A local gun instructor who teaches basic pistol training classes said spooked residents jumped at the chance to get a permit.
“Everyone who wanted a gun permit got one,” said Michael Capozzielo. “People started thinking, you know what, some crazy person can do that, at the supermarket, anywhere and I won’t have anything to defend myself. They were also afraid they were going to enact stricter laws and thought they had a small window of opportunity.”
In April, Connecticut passed some of the strictest gun control laws in the country after the Dec. 14 school shooting that left 26 dead, expanding background checks for gun and ammunition purchases, banning large capacity magazines, and banning some “assault weapons.” Firearms industries located in Connecticut are relocating their headquarters to disentangle themselves from the state’s strict laws and meet the increased demand for ammunition and weaponry, Fox News reports.
An amendment requiring universal background checks failed in the Senate in April, despite President Barack Obama’s best efforts to harness the emotional momentum of the tragedy to push for the bill. A visibly frustrated Obama accused Second Amendment supporters of “willfully lying” about the effects universal background checks would have on gun registry and ownership.
“Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elect leaders,” Obama said. “A few minutes ago, a minority in the U.S. Senate decided it wasn’t worth it. They blocked common sense gun reform even while these families looked on from the Senate gallery.”
Connecticut state police are investigating the deadly shooting and will release a report in the fall. The state passed a law in June forbidding public access to the homicide photos and all 911 emergency call tapes.