By Jonathan Williams
Times West Virginian
In Marion County, the sheriff’s department is responsible for processing, issuing and renewing concealed carry weapons (CCW) permits.
And over the past three or so years, officials say there has been a steady climb in permit requests.
This year, the demand has exploded.
“We’ve had over 100 already this year,” Marion County Sheriff Joe Carpenter said. “For the last month it’s really gone up.”
Self defense is probably the biggest motivation, he said.
“The more you hear about all the violence that’s going around in our country,” Carpenter said, leads to “people just wanting to be able to carry a weapon.”
He said the possibility of federal gun control may also have people eager to get their permits.
“There’s a big percentage of people that are worried about that,” he said.
Concealed weapons permit carriers are required to renew their license every five years, but Carpenter said most of the permits the sheriff’s department is issuing are for first-time applicants. Additionally, he said people of all genders and age groups are applying.
In order to get a CCW permit, applicants have to take a National Rifle Association or law enforcement-approved safety course, and Carpenter said he can’t stress safety enough.
“Whether you want to carry or not, take the safety course,” he said. “That’s not for just your safety — that’s your family’s safety.”
He said the course covers when and how to use a gun, including time handling it, and safe storage.