King County gun applications rise following Colorado massacreon July 25, 2012 @ 3:01 pm (Updated: 10:05 pm - 7/25/12 )
Forty-one people applied for a Concealed Pistol License on Monday, July 23, compared to 19 on Monday, July 16. The number of gun sales also rose from 90 on an average Monday to 115 the Monday after the shooting.
The King County Sheriff's Office called the increase "drastic."
"Call it a fear if you want to, this is a natural reaction people have," said Dave Workman, a gun rights expert and senior editor of GunWeek.com. "All over the county this is going on."
Connecticut, Florida, Oregon, and California all processed more gun-related background checks in the past several days compared to similar periods, according to the Associated Press.
In Colorado, the site of Friday's massacre that claimed 12 lives and left dozens more injured, background checks were approved for 2,887 people who wanted to purchase a firearm - 25 percent more than the average Friday to Sunday period in 2012 and 43 percent more than the same interval the week prior, the Associated Press reports.
"People here just don't want to take the chance of being in the same situation," Workman said. "People have also been seeing the stories of increased gun control and possible measures over the horizon, so they want to take care of the paperwork before anything happens."
Nationally, the shooting has triggered a fierce debate over gun control and whether government has a role in reining in the ownership of firearms.
Gun sales often fluctuate based on news events, especially when people think the passage of more restrictive gun laws is imminent. Sales spiked following the election of President Barack Obama, when weapons enthusiasts expressed fear that the Democrat might curtail gun rights. FBI figures also show background checks for handgun sales jumped in Arizona following the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011.
"It's not uncommon for us to see spikes in requests for concealed pistol licenses when there's a significant gun-related tragedy," said Sgt. Cindi West of the King County Sheriff's Office.
Some Democratic lawmakers in Congress cited the shooting as evidence of the need for tougher gun control laws - particularly a ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines. Congress, however, hasn't passed strict legislation in more than a decade.
MIKE BAKER and KRISTEN WYATT of the Associated Press contributed to this report.
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