Friday, January 4, 2013
© Copyright 2013
Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE -- The number of firearms applications in Gwinnett last year exceeded even the expectations of a well-prepared probate court.
Lorraine Stafford, vital records supervisor with the county's probate court, said this week that her office usually orders about 7,000 firearms application files annually in preparation for the year's business.
"And we only (order that many) because we never know if something crazy's going to happen," Stafford said.
Something crazy happened.
Stafford said the county received a total of 8,610 applications for firearms permits in 2012, nearly doubling the 2011 total of just 4,700. The office saw more than 900 applicants in December alone.
Several factors are likely to have contributed.
Now-retired Probate Court Judge Walter Clarke said a new and improved permit ID card -- which boasts a photo, address and more -- introduced last year definitely boosted new applications.
"Previously it was just a little card that was laminated with a signature of the applicant," Clark said.
Shooting tragedies (and the subsequent gun control discussions) often spur more applications as well. Gwinnett probate court had a record week following the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the astronomical December total of more than 900 applicants is likely tied to the reignited gun control debates that have followed.
Both Stafford and Clarke mentioned President Barack Obama's original election in 2008 as another high watermark for applications. There were 7,777 that year, Stafford said.