Over the past five years, the number of concealed carry permits issued in West Virginia has quadrupled, reports the West Virginia Press Association.
Back in 2009, sheriffs departments across the state issued 11,160 CCW permits. By 2013, that number had skyrocketed to 44,981. Since 2009, over 125,000 permits have been issued.
While state police don’t have clear answers on why the numbers spiked, they like the idea that more good guys are opting to arm themselves in public.
“What you have to remember is these are law-abiding citizens going through the proper process,” said Lt. Michael Baylous, spokesman for the West Virginia State Police. “The criminals don’t go through the proper process to get a permit.
“Do we encounter more people in traffic stops who have weapons? That might be fair to say,” Baylous continued. “But nine times out of 10, they do the right thing and inform us they’re carrying.”
To obtain a CCW permit in the Mountain State, which expire after five years, one needs to be 21 years of age or older, complete a firearms safety course, pass a background check, and pay a fee of $75 upon applying and a $25 fee once the permit is issued.
Fees on CCW permits raised $4.4 million for the state in 2013.
From Lt. Baylous perspective, the numbers have led to an increase in instances of self-defense.
“Just from what I’ve seen, I have seen more people standing up and protecting themselves,” he said, adding, “It’s clear to me, just from the position I’m in, the moral fabric of our country seems to be wearing thin, and you see more heinous acts being committed each day. (Carrying a concealed weapon) is a personal choice, and I see why more people might be making that choice.”