AP Photo/Steve Helber
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam isn’t just selling a lot of guns in Virginia these days. He’s also responsible for the increasing number of Virginians applying to get their concealed carry license as well. Fauquier County, which is in northern Virginia and an exurb of Washington, D.C. fifty miles away, has seen a huge increase in the number of residents applying for their concealed carry license in the past few weeks.
As of Thursday, the Fauquier County Circuit Court clerk’s office had received 330 applications — more than double the number it did for the same month in 2019.
Last January, the office received 155 concealed carry applications, Chief Deputy Clerk Helen Zaleski said.
That represents about a 113-percent increase over January 2019’s total.
Last year, the clerk’s office received 1,314 concealed carry permit applications. During the previous five years, it received 6,851.
Clark Bros. is a well known gun store and range located in the county, and owner Steve Clark tells Fauquier Now that Ralph Northam and Democrat lawmakers can take the credit for surge in interest in the right to bear arms.
I know that most of it is explained by (Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat) wanting to do all of his disgusting gun-control laws,” said Mr. Clark, whose family 60 years ago opened the popular gun store along Routes 17/17/29. “People are feeling that will help them in a grandfathered-in clause — if they’ve already got their concealed carry permits — because the first thing (the Virginia General Assembly) will do is stop concealed carry permits.”
He added: “It’s easier to renew them than it is to get new ones. That’s the thought process there. We don’t know if that’s going to be true or not.”
For all of the gun control laws that are moving in the state legislature, anti-gun Democrats haven’t done much to attack the right to carry application process, focusing instead on bills that would empower localities to limit the ability to carry in public places. I’m actually surprised that we didn’t see a ban on the open carrying of firearms being pushed this session, but without a doubt restrictions on the right to carry are coming as long as Democrats maintain their majority in the state legislature.
While the Fauquier County newspaper focuses their story on what’s happening locally, there’s evidence that the surge in interest in concealed carry is happening across the state. Down in Danville, on the Virginia/North Carolina border, firearms instructor Barry Creasy says his classes are filling up fast.
Creasy says he’s been teaching the class for more than 30 years.
He says his class size increases when people feel their gun rights are not being protected.
“People are concerned because some of the proposals are actually going to restrict guns that people have owned for over 40 to 50 years,” Creasy said.
We’ll likely learn the number of NICS checks performed in Virginia in January at some point next week, which will also give us some indication about how Northam’s gun proposals are driving residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights. Virginia gun sales surged in December, and from what I’m hearing from a few friends in the industry here in the state, I wouldn’t be surprised if January’s sales were just as high, even though typically it’s the slowest month of the year. In their quest to disarm Virginians, it looks like Northam and his anti-gun cohorts at the capitol have only led more residents to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.