Data shows a dramatic jump in gun licenses in 2012

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Dec 5, 2013 11:47 AM

(Harrisburg) -- The number of licenses to carry firearms in the midstate has jumped dramatically after 2011. Some counties saw more than a 50% increase.

Starting in 2010, a WITF data analysis reveals more people started applying for gun licenses in the 12 counties surveyed, but last year's figures far outpaced any other jump over the past five years.

Dauphin County saw a 69% increase -- one of the largest in the midstate -- from 3,411 licenses two years ago to 5,764 in 2012.

"You saw a bump after an incident such as Sandy Hook. So high profile incidents do play a role in seeing these licenses increase," said Pennsylvania State Police Spokesman trooper Adam Reed.

The agency did have prolonged waiting times as more and more applied for licenses.

""Well we certainly did see an increase in our workload as far as processing these and firearm sales on top of that. But our men and women did a great job in doing their best to keep up with that increasing workload. And they did the best that they could to get those out in a timely manner."

In other counties, the hike was less dramatic, but still significant.

Take Cumberland County, for example.

It saw a 52% increase between 2011 and 2012.

Rebecca Joyner, a junior at Messiah College in Grantham, has applied for a license.

"Actually talking to other people who have their permits to carry, and I've heard their stories, and how they've been able to protect somebody in a life-threatening situation. It's sort a no-brainer I guess, if I can protect myself and protect others."

"It was a big thing when I turned 21, that I was able to. I was able to do that. Mainly because I can. I think it's my right to be able to carry, and so I chose to fulfill sort of that standard, I guess."

She says she doesn't have a firearm yet, but wanted to know that she could legally use one if needed.

In York County, Sheriff Richard Keuerleber has announced plans to expand the office to handle the influx of applications.

Lancaster County's Sheriff Mark Reese, speaking to the Intelligencer Journal, says the increase has led to lines at the Sheriff's office, but he's also concerned some people getting permits have little to no experience or training.

Across the region, gun licenses jumped by 57% from 2011 to 2012, while the figures have largely leveled off this year.

Using the data compiled by WITF, the York Daily Record has further analyzed gun license permits. They find York County is in the middle of pack for permits per 10,000 residents, while Franklin County has the fewest number of permits per 10,000 residents. More of their analysis is here.

Three counties did not provide information to WITF despite multiple requests: Berks, Mifflin, and Schuylkill.

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