Faribault County isn’t exactly the Wild Wild West. At least not yet.
For the past three years, permits to allow local residents to carry a firearm in public have increased.
“There are definitely more women and couples getting them,” says Sheriff Mike Gormley. “I don’t know the reason why more want to carry a gun and I don’t ask.”
Last year, 271 permits were issued in the county. That’s up from the previous year of 166 or a 63 percent hike. In 2014, 119 permits were approved.
Gormley says during a presidential election year and the possibility of candidate pushing for tougher gun laws getting elected creates interest.
Applications to carry a firearm must be made at the sheriff’s office and costs $100 for a new permit, $75 for renewal and $25 for veterans.
Gormley says applicants must provide proof of approved firearms training and a criminal background check is conducted to determine if an application should be denied.
“I have had to deny, suspend or revoke very few,” says Gormley. “It’s not very many.”
Out of the 285 applications last year, Gormley denied only one and 13 were still pending at the end of 2016.
Sheriffs across the state report there were 122 permits suspended, 56 revoked and 658 denied last year.
Although a permit to carry a firearm is good for five years, Gormley says the state conducts an annual check to make sure holders have not broken the law..
In Martin County, 354 permits were approved last year compared to 311 in 2015 and 176 in 2014.
Statewide law enforcement issued more than 71,000 permits, a record one-year total.
An annual report from the Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension shows there are 265,726 valid permits in the state. A year ago, the total was 217,909.