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Handgun sales surge locally, statewide

Louisiana’s steadily increasing concealed-handgun permit sales spiked last year, reaching more than 9,000 and almost doubling those in 2008, according to State Police.Some attribute the jump to the lingering speculation of gun owners who suspect the federal government plans to restrict firearm use. Others suggest the economic downturn and a perceived need for protection might have temporarily spurred sales.

In 2006, Louisiana sold 2,426 concealed-handgun permits, according to records kept by State Police, which issues the documents. By 2008, sales had reached 4,130 and then surged to 9,210 last


Lt. Doug Cain, a spokesman for the agency, said the sales began picking up in November 2008, coinciding with the election of President Barack Obama. He declined to say whether the agency thought there was a connection.

“It’s certainly out of the ordinary,” he said.
Sales in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes increased along with the state, as did nearly every parish, records show. Terrebonne Parish more than tripled from 83 in 2008 to 285 last year. Lafourche went from 60 to 180.

Residents must complete a nine-hour course that reviews child-safety laws, use of deadly force and ammunition, among other subjects, to apply for a permit. Once finished, they can apply for either a two-year permit for $50 or a four-year permit for $100.

Cain said the money pays for the State Police division that handles the permit sales.

Teachers say students have entered class with concerns that the federal government is planning to create legislation restricting gun use.

“That’s out there,” said Kenneth Barker, 32, who teaches a course at Tri-Parish Police Supply in Houma. “It’s more speculation than anything.”

Generally, people take the class seeking to protect themselves, teachers say. But not everyone who takes the class will carry a weapon, said Sgt. David Robichaux, who has taught the course for three years for the Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Some enter with a false impression of when they can use their gun, he said. Learning the myriad limitations that exist even if you have a permit deters some from carrying a weapon.

“You can’t pull a gun on someone who slaps you in the face or steps on your foot. They have to have a high threat level,” Robichaux said. “When we explain all this stuff to them, it clicks — ‘Maybe I need a permit but I don’t need to carry a (firearm) all the time.’ ”

The sales of not only permits but ammunition and firearms has spiked nationwide, said Rachel Parsons, a spokeswoman for the National Rifle Association.-[source]

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