'Unbelievable' rise in weapons permits
Interest grew substantially after law reduced sheriffs' ability to deny themThe number of Iowans seeking permits to carry handguns and other weapons has increased 170 percent during the first 11 months of 2011 — a trend one Iowa sheriff calls “unbelievable.”
During the first year in which a new law gave sheriffs less discretion over which residents can be denied permits, 94,516 Iowans sought and received non-professional weapons permits from January through November, the Iowa Department of Public Safety reports.
Data from the state’s three most populous counties show an even greater surge in weapons permits in key urban areas. In Polk, Linn and Scott counties, the number of permits issued thus far in 2011 is 271 percent higher than in 2010.
Why are more Iowans seeking permits?
“The majority of people I’ve talked to said they’d just always wanted one,” said Pals, the Cerro Gordo County sheriff. “And now they can in Iowa and they are following through with it. The training that’s required is a lot easier now.”
Pals said it’s not uncommon to see a husband and wife showing up to get permits together — or even a group of friends.
The increase is attributed to a change in state law that took effect Jan. 1 that requires Iowa sheriffs to give weapons permits to [Any eligible applicant]. Previously, a sheriff could deny a permit for any or no reason.