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Viewpoint: Armed citizens aren't good for criminals

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South Georgia firearm dealers say they are having a hard time keeping guns in stock, because of skyrocketing sales. Probate Judges in the area say they're seeing increased numbers of people applying for gun carry permits.

State legislators raised the price for carry permits from $50 to $70 last year, but that has not slowed permit applications.

Gun Dealers and judges say Georgians are concerned about crime and want to be armed to protect themselves.

This year those numbers are shooting off the charts. Gun sales usually increase in February in South Georgia, as people receive their tax refunds, but they say it's bigger than ever this year.

The Dougherty County Probate Court office clerks, have nearly a hundred permits waiting to be processed, working overtime to get them filed quickly.

In Dougherty County in 2011, 1,400 gun carry permits were granted.

So far this year 231, That's on track for 2000 this year. The permits are good for five years, and Dougherty County Probate Judge Nancy Stephenson says that now, 8,000 people in this county, will be permitted to carry a concealed weapon.

"Let me just use this as an opportunity to tell criminals, that the next time you attack someone while they are emptying their garbage, or loading their groceries in the car, probably they are going to be armed, and you are going to be hurt," Stephenson said.

Judge Stephenson said the people she sees at her office have an increased level of anger and fear about crime.

Criminals risk much more than jail time, more and more South Georgians, carrying a concealed gun, will defend themselves.