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 (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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