Concealed carry permit applications surge in weeks since Sandy Hook shooting

More than 100 Kansans per day applied for concealed carry permits, and other Kansans flocked to gun stores in the weeks following the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn.

According to data from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, 1,012 Kansans applied for concealed carry permits in the 10 business days between Dec. 14 and the end of the year. The 100-per-day average is roughly a 50 percent spike from the 64-per-day application average the office saw since July.

And a key firearm sales indicator — firearm background check data from the FBI — shows Kansans mirrored rising trends nationwide, as the number of background checks requested by gun dealers in Kansas reached an all-time high of more than 35,000 in December.

A federal background check doesn’t always indicate a new gun is purchased, but the firearms industry uses these numbers as an indicator of how well the gun business is doing.

Tim Van Leiden, owner of the Ottawa firearm store The Gun Guys, said he has seen more customers recently who express concern over possible restrictions to gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings.

Their concern “is probably amplified,” Van Leiden said. “A lot of customers are concerned about what’s going to happen with the gun laws.”

The increase in gun sales isn’t unique to the Sandy Hook shooting; it was also seen following the July shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.

After the Colorado shootings, the FBI conducted 1.5 million background checks across the country in August, compared with 1.2 million checks in June. Yet the Connecticut shootings energized gun buyers more: Background checks surged in December to nearly 2.8 million, compared with 1.6 million in October.

The Associated Press contributed to this report