ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A new report shows more Minnesotans are eager to carry a firearm in public.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on Friday released the 2013 Permit to Carry Report, summarizing data collected from law enforcement agencies across the state reflecting applications made for handgun carry permits as well as data about permit holders.
According to the report, 62,950 permits were applied for and 60,471 were issued in 2013, nearly double the number issued in 2012 (31,657). Those supporting gun rights say the statistic reflects a perceived concern by gun owners that their rights could change due to national politics.
"A lot of new gun owners, a lot of people worried that people will lose their rights. They want to get in, get grandfathered in," said Kory Krause with Frontiersman Sports.
Krause said a jump in profits has accompanied the trend, with his sales jumping nearly 50 percent in 2012, and another nearly 50 percent in 2013. Krause also noted a change in the demographics of gun owners -- including women and younger people.
"Some people say more guns mean more problems, more crime, more whatever, but if they're in the right hands, it's safer," he said.
But an anti-gun violence organization says a fundamental fact contradicts that belief.
"Having a firearms present raises the risk, significantly, of someone dying in that household," said Heather Martens with Protect Minnesota.
Martens noted the jump in permits suggests a positive point for those striving to limit gun violence. She says people are not opposed to stronger and more extensive background checks.
But Martens noted the very BCA report that noted the jump in permits also delineated a jump in crimes being committed by permit holders. In particular, Martens noted, 42 permit holders were convicted of a domestic violence crime. That's out of the overall pool of permit holders, which is more than 165,000 people.
"I think the domestic violence number is concerning because oftentimes, when there's domestic violence, there was some indication that someone was potentially violent," she said, adding, "We've been saying for many years that the standards aren't high enough for conceal carry permit holders."
The BCA attributed the jump in crimes -- more than half of which were DWIs or other traffic offenses -- to an actual increase in crimes being committed, the increase in permit holders and better reporting by law enforcement agencies.