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Gun interest rises in Lebanon County

Written by Daniel Walmer/Lebanon Daily News | Nov 20, 2015 6:21 PM
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Mike Wenger looks at a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield on Thursday November 19, 2015. The store has seen the sale of compact pistols, which are easier to conceal, after the terror attacks in Paris. Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News

Reaction to Paris attacks the probable cause, sheriff says

(Lebanon) -- Interest in gun ownership tends to follow the news, and the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris have become a prime example, according to Shyda's Outdoor Center manager Brad Shyda.

"I think people are just kind of scared at this point," Shyda said.

It's been a busy week at Shyda's in South Lebanon Township -- particularly for handgun sales -- and statistics from the Lebanon County Sheriff's Office reveal a similar county-wide trend.

There were 58 applications filed for new gun permits between Nov. 13 and this Thursday, an increase from a normal average of 10 to 12 and enough for Sheriff Bruce Klingler to assign an additional employee to meet the demand for permits. Will he can't provide a definite explanation of the trend, Klinger said concern after the Paris attacks is a likely culprit.

Bob Enck, owner of Enck's Gun Barn in Myerstown, has also noticed an increase in handgun sales this week and said the spike after a major news event isn't unusual.

"Whenever there's something like the Paris deal, people think about their protection and maybe they ought to have something on the nightstand that they didn't have before," Enck said.

Many Republicans -- including Congressmen Charlie Dent and Ryan Costello, who represent portions of Lebanon County -- have called for a temporary halt to that process pending a review of the refugee vetting process. Wolf said the government can keep Pennsylvanians safe while remaining true to the state's values and history of accepting refugees fleeing persecution and violence.

Political concerns can also fuel interest in firearms, particularly when an official talks about increased gun control, Shyda said. Klingler noticed a spike in permit applications once before: when President Barack Obama was elected.

Not every Lebanon County gun shop has experienced increased demand -- a representative for Richland Shooter Supplies said it hasn't noticed anything out of the ordinary. But the spike in interest others have observed reflects a statewide trend.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Chester and Bucks county sheriffs have seen permit applications more than double since the Paris attacks.  Allegheny County had so many applications it asked people to submit requests for permits by e-mail.

There are 12,964 active permits that were obtained through the Lebanon County Sheriff's Office. Not everyone who obtains a permit carries a gun on their person on a regular basis, Klinger said; some say they just want to own a permit or want it so they can carry firearms in their vehicles.

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Brad Shyda, vice president and manager at Shyda's Outdoor Center, talks to a customer about the difference between a Ruger LCP and Smith and Wesson Bodyguard on Thursday November 19, 2015. The store has seen the sale of compact pistols, which are easier to conceal, after the terror attacks in Paris. Jeremy Long, Lebanon Daily News


This article comes to us through a partnership between Lebanon Daily News and WITF.

 

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