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Connecticut sees jump in gun permits after school shooting spree

Connecticut sees jump in gun permits after school shooting spree
Police leave the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut following a shooting that left at least 26 people dead including 18 children on December 14, 2012. UPI/John Angelillo | License Photo

NEWTOWN, Conn., Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Applications for handgun permits in Newtown, Conn., jumped sharply in the months after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, records show.

Residents of Newtown turned in 183 permit applications between January and May, an increase of 110 percent over same period in 2012 and more than the full-year totals for 2012 and 2011, The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday.

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It appeared the massacre of 20 school children and six adults at Sandy Hook by a gunman on Dec. 14 created concerns among the public that new laws were looming that would make it more difficult to own a gun. "Many people expressed their concerns even before the shooting that gun laws were going to change and there would be tighter restrictions on getting a gun permit," said Robert Berkins, records manager for the Newtown police.

The Courant said Connecticut law has local governments issue temporary gun permits. The state then issues a permanent license at a later date.

Statewide, the number of new pistol permits issued by state police increased 78 percent between March and September. The applications began to spike in March, which the Courant said reflected the lag time after applications were submitted to local authorities, and them peaked in July.

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The backlog of applications in Newtown caused the police chief to ask City Hall last month for funds to hire a temporary clerk to process the paperwork. "The initial response was overwhelming," Berkins said. "I hope we are now starting to get back to normal."

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