Hennepin County is on a pace to break its annual record for the number of people asking permission to carry a gun in public.
Applications in Hennepin County for permits to carry a gun in public are coming in at a furious pace this year and should easily set an annual record, authorities said Monday.
The Sheriff's Office has received 1,875 applications through the first four months of 2012, spokeswoman Lisa Kiava said. That's a 54 percent increase over the same time frame in 2011, which was the second busiest year for applications in the county since the 2003 permit law took effect.
By the end of the year, Sheriff Rich Stanek said, the county will "absolutely" break the annual record of 3,359 submitted applications set in 2008.
"Why the large increase? People have more questions than they have an answers to that," Stanek said.
Since 2003, the Sheriff's Office in Hennepin County, the state's most populous, has issued nearly 22,000 permits. About 3,300 of those were renewals, meaning there are roughly 18,700 permit holders in the county.
The Personal Protection Act of 2003 guarantees access to a handgun permit to any adult who pays a $100 fee, gets prescribed training and passes a background check.
Across Minnesota last year, there were more than 22,000 applications submitted for carrying a gun in public, according to the state Department of Public Safety. More than 20,000 of them were granted.