(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Area courthouses are busy in recent weeks with an increasing number of people seeking concealed weapons permits. Sheriffs throughout the region tell the I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick they have seen nearly a 50 percent increase in first time permit applicants. They say the Parkland, Florida school shooting and concern about gun control are prompting the rush.
The Luzerne County Sheriff's department was once again a busy place Tuesday. The gun permits room has rarely been empty in the past three weeks since the tragedy at parkland high school in Florida. "The reason I have a permit is for protection." Said Diana Cognigni of Plains Township, She came to the Luzerne County sheriff's office to renew her concealed weapon permit and while the Parkland shooting is not the main reason she is here. It is in the back of her mind.
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Believe that everybody should be able to protect themselves in one way or another. I don't want to use by gun but if I have to I will."
Luzerne County Sheriff Brian Szumski says is office has seen a 70 percent increase in new applications for concealed weapons permits in the last three weeks. They normally have 30 applications a day. Now they are seeing 45 to 50. .. Self-protection is one reason for the increase. And there is another. "It also appears that anytime something like that happens you always hear about proposed legislation that might change the want people get weapons. They don't want to lose that right to carry firearms that's why there is basically a rush to get it."
Fred Heller came to the sheriff's department to update the information on his concealed weapons permit. He believes that many of these school shootings might be prevented if the gunman knew he might come face to face with someone who carried a weapon
"What's happening across the country every one of these targets have been what's called a soft target? You have signs that say gun free zone that's an advertisement for a crazy person to come in to do the horrible things they do." Said Heller.
Sheriffs in Lackawanna and Schuylkill Counties also told us that first time applicants for gun permits are on the rise.