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LIMA – Area sheriffs continue to issue concealed-carry licenses at a record pace and some counties already have passed last year’s count.

In Putnam County, Sheriff Jim Beutler has issued 48 licenses with 12 more pending as of Thursday. He issued 34 all of last year and 20 in 2007, he said.

“We have doubled our numbers last year,” he said.

In Allen County, 152 new licenses have been issued through February with 18 pending compared to 323 licenses issued all of last year, Sgt. Alan Mefferd said.

Auglaize County has issued 118 licenses so far this year well over the 93 issued all of last year, Sheriff Al Solomon said.

In Allen County, Sheriff Sam Crish opened his office to accept applications to five days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate people and speed up the application process.

“We are getting a lot more requests,” Crish said. “I want to shorten up the turn around.”

Concealed-carry instructor Steve Farmer of Insight Firearms Training Development said he also has seen a spike in the number of people wanting to take the mandatory 12-hour class required to obtain a concealed-carry license. He had 154 students all last year and has passed that number already this year, he said.

“I was normally doing one class per month with 10 students. Now, I’m doing a couple classes a month with somewhere between 30 and 40 students with each class,” Farmer said.

The reasons are many.

“I just don’t hear one reason why. They are afraid the CCW licenses are going to be restricted. They are hoping if the new president does away with it they will be grandfathered in,” he said.

But there’s more, including the economy, Farmer said.

“The high unemployment rate, the rash of robberies, the home invasions. People are just wanting to protect themselves,” he said.

The increase in gun sales and concealed-carry licenses have pushed ammunition sales through the roof, Farmer said.

“I’ve had to sell students ammo out of my own personal ammo so they could take the class,” he said.

Ron Deatrick of Tri-R Guns in Ottawa said there is a shortage of ammunition with some calibers nearly impossible to get.

“Everybody is hording it. It’s fear of not being able to get it,” he said.


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