Firearm permit applications up significantly

All the local law enforcement agencies are reporting a significant increase in the number of people applying for permits to purchase firearms.

Those wanting to purchase a firearm generally make the application in the city they reside, although residents from the smaller communities and outside the city limits generally apply through the Sheriff's office.

Sheriff's Administrative Lieutenant Ray Huffman says the number of permit applications have increased every year and is up 60 percent in December from last year. He believes proposed gun control is the reason for the big jump in December, and he emphasizes a lot of women are making applications for a firearm.

Acting Scottsbluff Police Captain Kevin Spencer says there has been a noticeable increase in gun permit applications since mid-November, noting his staff had received nine applications just this week. Law enforcement has three days from the time of the application to do a background check and approve or deny the permit. Spencer also says a number of the applications are from people who have not applied previously through Scottsbluff Police.

Gering Police investigator George Holthus says they are also seeing an increase. The Nebraska State Patrol's Troop E office based in Scottsbluff, which handles concealed carry permit applications, says they have received twice as many applications over the last three months compared to the same time last year.

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