The number of requests for concealed carry permits in the state continues to drop after peaking in February, according to Arkansas State Police data.
The number of requests for concealed carry permits in the state continues to drop after peaking in February, according to Arkansas State Police data. "We are seeing a decline in applications that began to spin up in January," state police spokesman Bill Sadler said. In January, the agency received more than 6,100 applications for concealed carry licenses, compared with the 2,272 applications the department received in December 2012. The number peaked in February at 7,600 applications before dropping in March to 5,700. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Monday that the numbers dropped to 1,600 applications in April and about 1,100 in May. There were more than 21,000 applications for Arkansas concealed-carry licenses in 2012, and there are currently about 149,500 active licenses, according to Arkansas State Police. To receive a license, residents must submit fingerprints for a background check and complete a firearms safety course, among other requirements. The state recommends a minimum of six hours of classroom instruction. Some in the industry speculate that applications rose as residents worried about possible new gun laws in light of the mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. Ed Monk, co-owner of Last Resort Firearms Training near White Hall, said he typically ran one class each month with a maximum of 18 students. After the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Monk held four or five classes each month with maximum attendance. "In that five-month period, they all went and got theirs," he said. "And so it's dried up. It's come down, but it's still far above where it was." Josh Bowen, who provides firearms training with his company Safe Secure Services, said his class load also increased early in the year. "After Aurora and Newtown, things really stepped up," Bowen said. ___