A record number of people in Wise County and Norton applied for concealed weapons permits last year, mirroring a trend across Virginia and the country.
Wise County Clerk of Circuit Court Jack Kennedy said his office issued 763 permits in 2012, compared to just 602 in 2011 and 572 in 2010.
“In the first two months of calendar year 2013, over 200 county and city citizens have either renewed or been approved [for] concealed handgun permits, setting up another record year, if the monthly average of issuance continues throughout the year,” Kennedy said.
Gun sales have surged in recent months after a series of high-profile mass shootings, including the Dec. 19 slaying of 20 school children and eight adults in Newtown, Conn., according to The Associated Press. Both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Virginia State Police have reported record numbers of requests for background checks of potential gun purchasers.