BRYAN AND ATOKA CO, OK-The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation reports a massive increase in gun license applications in the state last month, about a thousand more than when the Self Defense Act became law back in 1996.
The OSBI has had to hire more employees just to keep up with the gun permit applications coming in and that could delay applications. Several of our southern Oklahoma counties said they've also seen an increase in applications. In Bryan county, Sheriff Ken Golden said his staff is working hard to keep up with the demand as well.
Bryan County Sheriff, Ken Golden said about 30 people came in to apply for their gun licenses in November, that number jumped to 77 in January.
"There's been a triple increase in the number of people now, I just don't know if this will continue," he said.
The OSBI reported a sharp increase of gun license applications statewide in January, receiving almost 5,000 applications. Three thousand more than January 2012.
But Atoka County Sheriff, Tony Head, said that's not the case in his county.
"It just went from, back in the summer we was having anywhere from 15 to 20 a week and it's kinda dwindled down to anywhere from 3 to 5 a week now," he said.
But Head said even with the application decrease, more people showed interest.
"We've been having a lot of inquiries about the concealed carry permits, you know people calling wanting to know the process on it," he said.
Golden said the influx is a reflection of how people feel about what's going on around them.
"I believe people are nervous about the situation that the country's in. They're unsure of what's gonna be taking place so I think that some people feel they need to buy a weapon in order to defend themselves," he said.
And Head said more people are also concerned about what's going on in their backyards.
"I think just a lot of it's just personal security, there's just been a spike in burglaries and just crime in the area," he said.
"The constitution said citizens have the right to bear arms and I believe that our forefathers intended that for a reason," said Golden.
Garvin County Sheriff, Larry Rhodes said because of the rush, they had to adjust their hours so staff can keep up processing the gun permit applications.