First-time concealed weapons permits spike in SC

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) - State officials say the number of first-time applicants for a concealed weapons permit in South Carolina nearly tripled in 2012.

The State Law Enforcement Division told The Beaufort Gazette that 61,766 residents sought for the first time to be able to keep a gun hidden on their person last year. In 2011, the state recorded 24,661 first-time concealed weapons permit applications.

The number of active concealed weapons permits in the state is also rising. SLED had 186,916 permits on file in 2012, a 26 percent increase over the 148,624 permits in 2011.

A SLED spokeswoman refused to talk about any reasons for the increase.

It is not known how many guns are in South Carolina because the state doesn't require a permit to own a firearm.

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