BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Calls to defund the police, civil unrest, riots, protests and COVID-19 could all be reasons the Erie County Clerks office says its seeing an uptick in people legally applying for a pistol permit.
We told you Tuesday morning on 7 Eyewitness News that pistol permits in Erie County are up 30%. This year to date, the Erie County Clerk’s office has processed 3,458 applications. Erie County Clerk Mickey Kearns says more than 1000 of those applications were submitted in July alone.
“People want to feel safe,” he said. “These are uncertain times.”
Kearns says many of those applications came in July because the office was shut down for many months due to the pandemic.
“We’re processing those applications, buy under the Governor’s orders people couldn’t get together, and you have to take a five hour class to be trained,” he said.
Some are offering virtual firearms training and safety courses.
Kearns also says his office is seeing more and more women now applying to carry, and the people applying are from all over Erie County, not centralized in one area.
Murray Holman is with the Stop The Violence Coalition. He applauds those who legally obtain, and says more than is known, guns are stolen from suburban homes and brought to the city for criminal activity. He says much of the problem is when gun owners don’t report their firearms stolen.
“You’ve got to be careful who gets these permits and why they want them,” he said.
Kearns also says his office sees spikes in pistol permits during election years. In 2016, a little over 3800 people applied for Erie County pistol permits. That is about 400 more than those who have applied to date.