Gun sales, permits climb steadily - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Gun sales, permits climb steadily

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - With more reports of armed robberies, shootings, and home invasions, gun sales and the number of people getting permits to carry weapons are skyrocketing.

Gun shop owners say more people in Albany tell them they feel they need to be armed to protect themselves.

Business at Backwoods Outdoors is so good they can't meet demand. In fact they have a long waiting list of people wanting to buy guns.

"Mostly pistols. Compact pistols, they keep in their car, purse, on them. You know they are getting their toters permits, and they are carrying it with them. They want to be armed now," said Backwoods Outdoors owner Jackie Sizemore.

How dramatic are the sales? In March of last year, the store sold 111 guns, this March sales increased 79% to 199.

In April sales were up 85% over last year, and in May 170% increase. "People are real worried. Every other day there is an incident happening," Sizemore said.

The Dougherty County Probate Court is busy with a continued sharp increase in firearm permits.

So far this year the Court has issued 802 permits, and projects this year 16-hundred permits will be issued triple the number in 2006. Judge Nancy Stephenson said many crime victims come in traumatized, looking for protection.

"But I really do, I hope it gives people a feeling of protection. And I hope that they use it. Maybe that's what's needed at this point," said Stephenson.

Sizemore says he can hardly keep up with demand for small pistols, assault rifles and assault shotguns.....so he has a long waiting list of customers wanting a gun for protection. And he thinks more people arming themselves will help the crime problem.

"Absolutely. I feel safer. I carry a gun all the time and I feel safer," Sizemore said.

And many other South Georgians are arming themselves, for protection from crime. Judge Stephenson says it's not just Albany, the same rate of increase in firearm permits is being seen across most of the state of Georgia.

But the price for a firearm permit is going up. Starting July 1st, the cost for a firearm permit in Dougherty County will increase from $49.25 to $70.00.

    • Additonal facts-

-On July 1, the probate Court fee rises to $55.00, to a total of $70 for the license

-Firearms Permits issued in Dougherty County

2006     465 
2007    693
2008  1,117
2009 (thru May)    802
2009 (Projected)  1,600

-Pistol sales at Backwoods Outdoors-

MONTH   

2008 

2009  

  % Change

January 140 128     -9%
February 163 202    24%
March 111 199    79%
April 88 163    85%
May 57 154    170%


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