HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Across the Tennessee Valley, the demand for concealed carry permits is higher than it’s been in years.
Sheriff’s offices in Morgan, Limestone, Lawrence and Madison counties are all seeing a surge.
According to Brent Patterson from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, 16,027 gun permits were issued in 2018. That number slightly increased to 17,432 in 2019 and jumped to 23,481 in 2020. Keep in mind those totals include individuals who opted for a one-year permit and individuals who opted for a five-year permit.
Huntsville’s M.D. Smith, former storefront owner at Madison County Firearms, said the demand for FFL transfers is also high right now. When he sold his storefront at Madison County Firearms, Smith maintained his Federal Firearms License (FFL), which allows him to partake in the processes involving interstate and intrastate sale of firearms, including background checks.
Smith has been in the business most of his life and said an increase in permits and/or FFL transfers is most common when the going gets tough, or when people fear new restrictions could soon be placed on guns. He even has a mix of new customers calling in asking for guidance, particularly more women. At the end of the day, Smith believes the system is overwhelmed when it comes to both permit requests and transfers.
“I have seen an increase and it’s most evident by how long it takes to get someone to answer for the background check,” Smith said. “I have waited as long as 10 minutes and in the past there was no wait. Now just recently it seems to have gotten better, I don’t know if they have got more personnel. I don’t feel like there has been a slow down of purchases.”
This demand in permit requests and FFL transfers also affects production. In fact, a locally owned ammo company in Madison has had to increase equipment and personnel over the past two years. Their team produces 24,000 rounds of ammunition daily, still not enough.