Barack Obama is entering his final year in office apparently intent on convincing millions of more Americans to arm themselves against an encroaching government.
While politicians debate if stronger gun laws and background checks are in order, lines are forming at area pistol permit locations.
More than 60 people showed up in one day to get their pistol permits this week, overwhelming the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office.
The lines have been long, and phones have been ringing off the hook. Since the beginning of December, more than 500 people have requested conceal carry permits in Lauderdale County.
“It appears people are arming themselves left and right,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said.
The sheriff believes there is genuine concern about Second Amendment rights. Singleton said residents seem to think those rights are eroding at the hands of politicians.
That sentiment is hardly confined to Florida. Pennsylvania is also seeing a spike in first-time gun sales and permit applications.
A central Pennsylvania county releases new numbers that show a big increase in concealed weapon permits issued.
Union County Sheriff says many have never even held a pistol, let alone learned how to use it. Guns can be fun to shoot but deadly in the hands of a criminal or when handled improperly.
“Today’s society is bad and there are crazy people out there,” said Chris Habegger of Milton.
Many in Union and surrounding counties have acted to protect themselves 24/7 by obtaining a concealed pistol permit. The Union County Sheriff’s office issued permits to about 170 citizens last month. More than doubled the number granted in Dec. 2014, only 72 were granted. Those who carry say times have changed.
“For self protection, family as well as many things going on in the world,” said Caleb Baney.
Baney currently carries a concealed license issued by Union County even though he works in nearby Northumberland County. He also works in at Little Sportsman Shop and has seen first hand the demand for concealed carry permits.
“People come in every day that say things like ‘we just got our concealed carry licensed and we are looking at our first hand gun,’ that happens on a daily basis,” said Baney.
These same basic stories of higher gun sales and higher concealed carry permit applications than in preceding years are the hallmark of a citizenry convinced that crime is on the rise and that government is increasingly becoming invasive and tyrannical.
Violent crime is actually on the fall—per-capita homicide is the lowest it has ever been since the FBI began tracking that statistic 56 years ago—as are both per-capita and total gun accidents. The declining accidental discharge rate is especially impressive considering the number of first-time gun owners that have arisen during the Obama Administration, with young, urban and female gun owners being by far the fastest growing segments of the market.
Semi-automatic handguns for home defense and concealed carry are the most popular firearms being sold in recent years to first-time gun buyers, and they are typically followed by the “second gun” purchase of an AR-15 or AKM-pattern rifle.
The handguns are to protect from a criminal threat that seems to be declining according to FBI data.
The rifles are to protect citizens from a federal government that seems intent on expanding it’s reach deeper into every part of our lives, at the cost of our liberties.