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Pistol permit applications up in Columbia County, region

Oct 04, 2016 12:05 am
Emily Masters reports in the Times Union pistol permit applications are at an all-time high in the Capital Region. In Columbia County, the numbers of permits processed rose by 186 percent in six months this year, Sheriff David Bartlett said. That number has been climbing for years, said spokesman Lt. Wayne Lopez. "But we notice we do get a spike before elections," he said. Applications have doubled every year in Albany and Rensselaer counties. In Schenectady County, Sheriff Dominic Dagostino reported similar increases. In 2014, Columbia County processed 290 permits, and 413 in 2015. In just the first six months of 2016, 515 permits were processed. Sheriffs reported regionwide that women were the fastest-growing demographic among permit holders. Only Albany County collects data on the gender breakdown of applicants, but Bartlett said he recently attended a women's concealed-carry fashion show in Columbia County where a trend was evident. The spike in gun ownership is causing area sheriffs to consider if the number of safety courses offered should be increased. All permit applicants must attend such a program before being processed. Bartlett said he is working with county judges to change safety course requirements in Columbia County. Soon pistol permit applicants will not just sit in a classroom, he said. They will learn how to properly handle, load, charge, fire, unload and clean a firearm. Read the full story in the Times Union.