Story by Grace Hansen & Josh Arnett
Madison County has seen an influx of concealed weapons permits over the past year. The county sheriff’s office approved 337 concealed weapon permits in 2012, marking a 73 percent increase from 2011.
Madison County Sheriff Roy Klingler said he sports responsible citizens carrying firearms.
“I think it shows responsibility,” Klingler said. “It shows that people are aware of their rights.”
Klingler said he thinks responsible, armed citizens keep the community safe.
“A lot of people know in our part of the country, more people are armed,” Klingler said. “It’s a deterrent for those who want to commit crime.”
Following mass shootings like those in Aurora and Sandy Hook, the issue of firearms has become a focal point in domestic politics. This stimulated much speculation in the media and across web forums regarding the reason for the sudden influx of national applications for concealed weapons permits.
During is State of the Union address on Feb. 12, President Barack Obama urged Congress to vote on new gun control legislation.
Although the president did not mention the details of these policies, he said it was important for every legislator to vote, even if the vote was “no.”
“These proposals deserve a vote,” Obama said. “In the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.”
Klingler said as long as citizens are responsible and know how to use a firearm, he doesn’t discourage them from using guns.
“I think it’s important for citizens to be armed, but I also think it’s important to be responsible,” Klingler said. “I’m all for people doing what they want to do and being responsible.”
As of May 2013, all 50 states will allow residents to apply for a permit because of an appeals court ruling on Dec. 11, 2012 that overturned an Illinois law prohibiting citizens from carrying concealed weapons in public.
The requirements for obtaining a permit will still vary from state to state.