More Mississippians applying to carry concealed guns - - The News for South Mississippi

More Mississippians applying to carry concealed guns

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

A record number of Americans are buying guns, and numbers show the same trend happening here in Mississippi.

The number of Mississippians applying for a concealed weapon permit more than doubled from 2008 to 2012. Last year's numbers saw a sharp incline.

"There has been an increase every month, all 12 months of 2012 compared to every month in 2011," said Mississippi Department of Public Safety Spokesman Warren Strain.

December 2012 saw the largest spike in the last five years, with 1,747 applications.

National Rifle Association and state certified trainer Brad Harbour has 24 years of law enforcement experience. He says people fear for their safety and want a weapon.

In the last five years more than 38,000 Mississippians have applied for a concealed weapon permit. There is also an endorsement certification, that requires an eight-hour gun safety course, allowing handgun owners to carry a weapon into public buildings, churches and malls.

"It means that you have a certain level of training, a certain standard that you have met in order to carry that firearm. So, you will be allowed to carry it some places where you would not be able to otherwise," Strain said.  

Harbour has seen a significant increase in the number of people wanting the endorsement.

"The people that we're training are not the criminals. They're your average every day citizen," Harbour said.

Some might have concerns about so many concealed weapons on the street. However, those with the permits are screened by law enforcement and cannot have a felony on their record.

"Anyone who applies for and receives a permit has gone through an extensive background check. You have to have your fingerprints rolled and submitted to national data bases," Strain said.

You must reapply for the permit every five years. Security guards must apply every four years.

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