ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The number of people applying in Mississippi for a concealed weapon permit more than doubled from 2008 to 2012, according to figures released by the Department of Public Safety.
Department spokesman Warren Strain said December 2012 saw the largest spike in the last five years, with 1,747 applications.
Strain said total applications in 2012 were 12, 306. Between 2008 and 2012, permit applications have steadily increased — 2011 (7,358); 2010 (6,263); 2009 (6,859); and 2008 (5,593).
“There has been an increase every month, all 12 months of 2012 compared to every month in 2011,” Strain said.
In the last five years more than 38,000 people have applied for a concealed weapon permit
Strain said MDPS screens all applications includes checks for felony convictions.
“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.
Strain said permit holders must reapply every five years. Security guards must apply every four years.
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.
Brad Harbour, a certified firearms trainer with 24 years of law enforcement experience, tells WLBT-TV in Jackson that he 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.