Concern about crime and personal safety is behind a sharp increase in the number of concealed firearms permits issued by the Maine State Police, firearms instructors and gun rights advocates say.
The number of people seeking concealed gun permits from the state police in 2009 was 5,706, an increase of 40 percent over 2008. Portland, the state’s largest city, saw a 60 percent increase.
That increase is in keeping with a steady growth over the years in the number of new permits being approved by police agencies.
Personal safety is a major reason given by students taking introductory handgun safety courses, particularly women, says Jeff Weinstein of the Maine Gun Owners Association and director of FirearmSafety.net. He typically asks students why they enroll in beginner or personal protection firearms classes.