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Concealed weapon permit applications skyrocket in the Flathead

Published On: Dec 21 2012 09:05:34 PM MST   Updated On: Dec 21 2012 09:53:22 PM MST

Applications for concealed weapon permits are up around the state, and in the Flathead applications are skyrocketing.

The Flathead County sheriff's office is reporting 80 new applications in this week alone for concealed weapons permits -- four times what the sheriff's office normally sees.

"This is not something we didn't anticipate," said Sheriff Chuck Curry.

Curry and others at the Sheriff's Office are starting to look through the  applications that have come in this past week for concealed weapons permits.

"I think this rush that we've seen in people trying to obtain concealed weapons permits is primarily based on people concerned about protecting their rights," Curry explained.

With many gun enthusiasts in the Flathead who own firearms for sport or collectables, Curry tells NBC Montana it's understandable why so many permits have flooded his office.

"That's one more thing in their toolbelts should there be any sort of move to control guns nationally," said Curry.

But in light of recent events it's also about enforcing gun safety. The Sheriff's Office has partnered up with Flathead Suicide Prevention and Safe Kids, Safe Communities to offer free MasterLock gun lock kits for anyone who would like to pick one up.

"It's a good opportunity to remind people that often times these events aren't necessarily the fault of the gun," Curry said, "it's limiting access to those that shouldn't have them that can obtain them. That's a very important distinction to make."

And Curry says it's surprising how many folks forget to practice good, routine gun safety.

"They think 'Oh, my guns are in the closet and I've taught my kids and children and the people in my house how to properly use them and how to be safe.' But tragedies like this reinforce the fact that a little protection goes a long way," Curry concluded.

Gun locks are available at the Flathead County Sheriff's Office and on the first floor of the City-County Health Department.