Local law enforcement authorities have noted an increase in the number of gun sales and concealed pistol licenses (CPL) in the wake of the Aurora, Colo, movie theater shooting, which left 12 dead and 58 injured.
Those horrific numbers make Aurora the largest and most violent mass shooting in American history. According to local authorities, gun sales and CPLs typically increase in the wake of a major national event like Aurora — and often increase during presidential election years.
“I can say that, in talking with my front desk staff, they have noticed an uptick in inquiries,” said Federal Way Police Department spokeswoman Cathy Schrock. “People asking ‘How do I go about getting a CPL?’ or ‘What are the rules for buying a pistol?'”
In Federal Way, there were 44 new applications for CPLs in the months of June and July combined, Schrock said. June saw 31 CPL renewals, while 16 people renewed their licenses in July.
On the sales side of things, there were 106 sales in June, and 119 in July. Federal Way police have difficulty gauging any uptick, especially in CPLs, because of the department’s limited availability of a fingerprinting technician.
“Sometimes it’s a resource and a convenience issue for citizens. King County fingerprints five days a week. We fingerprint two times a week, sometimes three times a week,” Schrock said, referencing the fact that fingerprinting is required for a CPL.
At the county level, King County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Cindi West said that both CPLs and gun sales jumped following the July 20 incident in Colorado. On July 9, the county recorded 18 new CPLs, while the following Monday, 19 new CPLs were issued.
On July 23, the Monday directly following the Colorado shooting, 41 CPLs were issued.
Even on the day of the shooting, CPL numbers jumped above what they had been the rest of the month, with 29 new CPLs recorded on Friday, July 20, compared to 21 CPLs and 22 CPLs the previous Fridays.
The most significant jump in numbers at the county level came in gun sales between Friday, July 20, and Monday, July 23. On July 20, 40 sales were recorded by the county. On July 23, 115 gun sales were recorded.
“I have been told the numbers typically rise just prior to a presidential election and when there is some major incident similar to the Colorado shooting,” West said. “Again, we have no specific data that indicates that these are the reasons, but it appears to be a common trend when the numbers increase.”
Schrock echoed West’s comments, saying Federal Way Police Department notices upticks in the wake of drastic events like the Aurora shooting.
“It seems like, when we have national incidents, this is what happens,” she said.
To view the requirements for obtaining a CPL in Washington state, visit http://www.dol.wa.gov/business/firearms/faconcealreq.html.