Demand for gun permits increases in Tennessee Valley - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Demand for gun permits increases in Tennessee Valley

GUNTERSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

There was a run on guns and ammunition in North Alabama following the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut last month.

Many sheriff's departments are also seeing an increase in the demand for gun permits. For some people, it's all about being able to protect loved ones, but talk of federal gun restrictions is also a driving force in the increased interest in personal weapons.

Marshall County Sheriff Scott Walls issued about 200 more gun permits last month than the year before.

DeKalb County Sheriff Jimmy Harris said his increase over the previous year has nearly doubled. Sheriff Walls said he's seen increases every year in his seven years in office.

When he first took office, around 4,000 permits were issued. Last year, that number was around 7,400

So what's driving the demand? Sheriff Walls said it's talk of gun control.

"Anytime that there's talk about gun control in this country, you'll see increases in pistol permits," he said. "You'll see an increase in gun sales, ammunition sales. Over the holidays I think gun brokers and gun dealers all across the country almost sold out."

Sheriff Walls encourages gun owners to get a permit. He said he goes to great lengths to make sure only responsible people are allowed to obtain a gun permit.

He said an extensive search through a nationwide database is done to see if a person has a clean record. Some of the reasons for denying pistol permits include conviction of a felony offense, domestic violence, or even a DUI.

Having a pistol permit allows a person to carry a concealed pistol to many public places, but it's not required to own a gun. Without one, carry privileges are greatly diminished.

"You can own a handgun or a rifle, shotgun, or handgun on your own property. You do not have to have a permit," said Walls. "The only time you have to have a permit is when you are carrying a weapon concealed on your body or in your car out in a public place."

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