Conceal and carry permits have exploded across St. Louis area

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (KTVI) - Concealed carry permit applications are exploding in the St. Louis area.  FOX 2’s Rebecca Roberts takes a look at these numbers and the reasons behind the big jump.

On Wednesday, Terri Earls went to Top Gun Shooting Sports in Arnold to buy a gun, and learn how to use it.  “I want to get a permit for concealed carry, and I want to take the training classes, just for the protection,” she says.

The unrest in Ferguson put her over the edge, and she's not alone.

In St. Louis County, concealed carry permit applications decreased this past May, from 394 in 2013, to just 274 in 2014.  Applications stayed on the decline through June and July.  But from August until November, concealed carry applications exploded.

In August, numbers rose from 289 in 2013 to 383.  In September, applications jumped from 256 in 2013 to 405 in 2014.  In October, applications more than doubled from 271 to 575.

We’re not even halfway through November and applications are already at 286.  That's more than the entire month of November last year.

In St. Charles County, data shows the same pattern.

State Representative Stacey Newman, whose district includes Clayton, feels more concealed carry; permits won't make the public any safer.  She explains, “How are our law enforcement, who we call at a moment’s notice to protect us, how are they supposed to know who is the potential bad guy and who isn’t? There is so much here that’s a recipe for disaster.”

For all concealed carry permit applicants, an 8-hour training class is required by Missouri.  Top Gun Chief Training Officer David Price says they’ve added additional weekend classes to keep up with the demand.  He adds, “I started asking people, why are you here? And a lot of them said they’re nervous about times.” He says some people specifically mention Ferguson.

Representative Newman also worries Missouri's gun law that went into effect last month could have chilling consequences: “Nineteen year-olds can now apply for a concealed carry permit, and if you have a concealed carry permit, you can now also open carry any gun, anywhere. And that has me concerned.”

Jefferson County has also seen an increase in concealed carry permit applications since August, but data from 2013 wasn’t available.  Data from St. Louis city was not immediately available, either.

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Email: rebecca.roberts@tvstl.com