Enterprise Story: Concealed Weapon Permits and Firearm Sales up in Lane County
SPRINGFIELD, OR — The year 2012 sadly heard too many gun shots, making it a popular one for gun related crimes in the United States with the three most highly publicized shootings being; the movie theater shooting in Aurora Colorado, the mall shooting in Clackamas Oregon and the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown Connecticut. Since these three crimes, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in the amount of firearms and ammunition being sold, the amount of people enrolling in gun safety courses and applying for concealed handgun permits.
Jim Stinson, a customer of the Cabelas in Springfield, Oregon has been one of the many people to contribute to the overwhelming amount of people buying firearms and ammunition in Lane County.
“I live a few hours away, but I went into Cabelas with my wife just days after the Newtown shooting,” says Stinson. “Both of us have a clean record, but had to wait 2 hours to purchase our new handgun and shotgun due to having to have a background check done and the amount of people in line waiting for the same thing we were.”
“I’m back now to see if they have the ammunition I need, but again they were completely out,” says Stinson.
Recently Cabelas has been affected nationwide due to the conversations of possible gun law reform and also the amount of gun related crimes happening in the past year. Cabelas has seen a surge in firearm and ammunition sales, reporting that the store has a net income of $89.8 million for its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in December and is 19.7% higher than last year at this time. The NASDAQ also reported that Cabelas shares shot up by 13% to reach a new 52-week high of $60.98.
The Cabelas in the Gateway Mall which opened in May of 2011 has been affected along with the national trends. Louis Riley, an employee of Cabelas has seen this first hand. “We can’t keep ammunition on the shelves,” says Riley. “As soon we get ammunition in, the shelves are bare by the end of the day because people are buying everything.”
Nationally, the month of December had a total of 2,783,765 background checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation making it the highest ever and is up 38% since November. 177,170 of those background checks were done on December 21st, just one week after the Newtown elementary school shooting.
The state of Oregon in particular has been affected by the amount of firearms and ammunition being sold with many sporting goods stores around the state having a hard time keeping their shelves stocked. Gayle Umenhofer, the owner of “The Baron’s Den and Shooting Range” in Eugene has seen this first hand.
“Since December we have basically been completely out of merchandise and we have had trouble getting ammunition for our shop,” says Umenhofer. The Baron’s Den and Shooting Range has seen increases like these before, like whenever there is a series of gun related crimes, or in 2008 when President Barack Obama was elected to office.
Along with a high amount of customers coming into the shop to buy firearms and ammunition, there has also been an increase in the amount of consignment going on in the store. “We have had about 6 times the amount of consignment sales since the new year,” says Umenhofer. “The turnaround rate has been almost daily, as soon as the gun is on the shelf, someone buys it.”
The shooting range part of the business has also seen a dramatic increase in its amount of customers, with members and nonmembers coming in to utilize the range’s services. “Our range use has been up 50% and members have been coming in more often,” says Umenhofer. “All of our classes are full and even non-members are willing to pay the price to come here and shoot.”
The year 2012 proved to be a record one in the state of Oregon with 267,041 firearm checks being conducted by the Oregon Federal Bureau of Investigation with 44,246 of those coming from the month of December alone. So far in the year 2013, 67,000 firearm checks have been conducted
Lane County has seen a huge increase in the amount of people applying for concealed weapon permits, buying firearms, ammunition and signing up for gun safety classes. Whenever there is a scare of possible gun law reform or a series of gun related crimes there is always an increase in gun sales and applications for concealed weapon permits but in 2012 and so far in 2013, those numbers have been record breaking for Lane County with a year end total of 2000 concealed weapon permits being issued in Lane County alone.
Lane County has been on the same trend as the rest of the country with the overwhelming amount of concealed weapon permits applications beings submitted. The Lane County Sheriff’s Office had a total of 237 people file for a concealed weapon permits between December 17th and December 31st, a time when the Sheriff’s office was only open for 10 days, before that, the only 93 people had applied.
The sheriff’s office reported a similar spike back in 2007 during the time of the Virginia Tech shooting, but nothing compared to the spike in applications since the shootings that occurred the 2012.
In early January, Lane County had a total of 15,671 people with active permits, making it the 4th highest in the state behind Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah County.
In order to obtain a concealed handgun permit in Lane County one must submit an application to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office but also complete a concealed handgun course like the one offered at Defensive Firearm Instruction in Springfield. The company which is owned by Donovan Beard, an ex United States Marine and Eugene native, opened about a year and a half ago and has had tremendous success in the area since.
Defensive Firearm Instruction offers services such as concealed handgun licensing, state licensing to the department of public safety which includes police, fire and dispatching and weapon manipulation courses. Beard’s business has been affected tremendously with the amount of people signing up for their concealed handgun permit classes but also with armed security professionals.
“What we have in Lane County right now is the county commissioner’s office cutting the budget, leading to a lack of funding for the Lane County Sheriff’s office,” says Beard.
With the new cuts, the Lane County Sheriff’s have had their patrol hours cut from 24 hours a day to only 16 and the Lane County Adult Corrections has also been affected by having to release inmates due to a lack of room. Beard believes this is also contributes to the high amount of people applying for concealed handgun permits in Lane County.
“Small businesses in the area have been hiring armed security contractors to come around and police the area around their business and therefore have had to be their first responders due to the lack of sheriff policing,” says Beard.
In 2012 Defensive Firearms Instruction revenue quadrupled when compared to past years due to the amount of people signing up for classes not only in Lane County, but in other areas of Oregon. “Our company has seen this increase because our society has woken up to the fact that we don’t have the level of protection we have always had,” says Beard.
“When you dial 911 it is going to take a little time for them to get over to you and people are scared. As an ex Marine, 2 minutes in a gun fight is an eternity, trust me when I say that.”
How to Receive a Concealed Handgun Permit in Lane County
In order to receive a concealed handgun permit in Lane County there is a list of things one must do before submitting their application.
First, a concealed handgun permit will cost you $65.00 and will last for 4 years once it has been issued.
1. Be a Lane County Resident
2. Proof of Competency
3. Pass a Criminal Background Check
4. Must be at Least 21 Years Old
Proof of Competency can be completed at places such as, Defensive Firearm Instruction.
Defensive Firearm Instruction offers two separate courses for those interested in receiving their concealed handgun permit; A basic course and a handgun live fire course.
The Basic Concealed Handgun Course is a lecture based course were one learns the basic fundamentals of carrying a firearm and firearm safety. While the Live Fire Concealed Handgun Permit class offers those taking the class hands on experience with shooting and handling a handgun.
After completing all of these steps, one can submit their concealed handgun permit application. It can take the sherrif’s office up to 45 days to process your application and decided if you are eligible. Due to the high amount of applications, most applications have taken the full 45 days to be determined.