NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Applications for gun permits have jumped in Newtown since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which sparked a renewed debate about stricter gun control laws and a surge in gun sales around the country due to worries about new limits.
Newtown in recent years has issued about 130 gun permits annually. Police say the town received 79 permit applications in the three months since the Dec. 14 massacre, well over double the normal pace.
“A good percentage of people are making it clear they think their rights are going to be taken away,” said Robert Berkins, records manager for Newtown police.
The increase in applications in Newtown came as firearms sales surged around the country driven by Washington’s new focus on gun control.
Both sides of the debate have been well represented in Newtown, a town of about 27,000. The horror of the massacre inspired a groundswell of gun violence-prevention activism by new, local organizations such as Sandy Hook Promise and Newtown Action Alliance.
But gun ownership has long been a way of life in Newtown, which is home to the National Shooting Sports Foundation trade association.
A spike in complaints in recent years related to gunshots, primarily about noise and fear of shots being fired, led the police commission to propose an ordinance limiting when guns can be discharged and establishing a process for the police chief to approve shooting ranges, according to Joel Faxon, a police commission member.
Gun applicants traditionally involved hunters, target shooters and business owners, but now police are seeing a wider variety of applicants, Berkins said. Some said they never thought about getting a gun but heard their right to have one is going to be taken away, he said.
Berkins said he wonders how many of the applicants will actually go out and buy a gun. Only a few applicants get turned down for permits each year, he said.
Victor Benson, who owns the Freedom Shoppe gun store in nearby New Milford, said business has tripled since the school shooting. Some of the customers are first-time buyers, he said.
“It’s just the mentality of people when you tell them that something is going to be banned, well they want to get one while they still can,” Benson said. “We’re all upset about what happened in Newtown, but it doesn’t mean … we want to have our rights taken away.”
The killing of 20 first-graders and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School has led to proposals for universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, killed all of his victims at the schoolhouse with a Bushmaster semi-automatic rifle that he took from the house where he lived with his mother Nancy Lanza. He killed his mother at their home earlier and used a handgun to kill himself.
The FBI conducted more background checks for firearm sales and permits to carry guns the week following the Newtown shooting than it has in any other one-week period since 1998. The second-highest week for background checks came mid-January as President Barack Obama announced sweeping plans to curb gun violence.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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