Requests for firearms licenses in Bartow County have spiked since the mass shooting at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 students and six adults.
The local Probate Court, which issues Georgia Weapons Carry Licenses, normally averages 120 applications a month, Chief Clerk Rhonda Clark said.
"In the three weeks since the shooting in Newtown, we have had 365 applications," she told Cartersville Patch on Tuesday. "It would be more if our LiveScan fingerprinting system had not went down for several days."
Clark said her office is averaging about 40 applications a day when normally it receives only about four per day.
Gun sales and permit requests have surged across metro Atlanta due to fears of mass violence and stricter gun laws, according to several area gun shop owners and experts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
While regional gun shop owners reported a modest boost in gun sales after the re-election of President Barack Obama, they say it was nothing compared to the spike in sales post-Newtown.
Having noticed the trend, Sheriff Clark Millsap said the Bartow County Sheriff's Office's Training division aims to teach locals how to properly load, fire and store all those guns.
More than 400 people have signed up for a firearms safety course the BCSO limits to 24 at a time for safety reasons. Millsap said classes start Feb. 9 and will continue until everyone completes the training. Registration ends today.
Offering the four-hour classes—held at law enforcement’s firing range on Highway 41 in Cartersville—was an idea officials had been kicking around before Newtown, Millsap said.
"Even before Newtown, we saw more people wanting to buy guns and get their concealed carry permits," he said. "It’s everything. It’s [Columbine], Colorado; the mosque [incident]; the shooting of the state representative; these shootings in churches. Newtown was the last straw on the camel’s back."
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