Central Indiana sees surge in gun license applications
President Barack Obama will unveil his plan to fight gun violence with a number of gun control measures, and mayors in Bloomington, Muncie, Fort Wayne and Gary are part of the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
But in the month since the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, requests for background checks have skyrocketed as Hoosiers apply for permits to buy guns in record numbers.
After the mass killing incident in Newtown that left 26 dead, weapons sales and gun license applications increased dramatically. According to a national report, the FBI conducted over 2.7 million background checks on people seeking to buy guns in December, setting a record.
On Tuesday, Randy McQueen had his fingerprints taken and sent in to the state police for his own protection. He and thousands of others in Indiana are going through the same process in order to carry a handgun legally.
McQueen says he is avid hunter but has never carried a gun for protection. Now he's seeking peace of mind and protection.
The sale of guns has skyrocketed since the November general election and after Newtown. Many gun shops in central Indiana are sold out of modern sporting rifles.
Gun buyers have snapped up any firearm they can afford. The FBI conducted 475,000 background checks in 2012, an increase of 125,000 from the year before.
Boone County Sheriff Ken Campbell attributes the sharp increase gun license applications to the political climate in Washington.
"I really think people are fearful of the political environment and what Congress may do as opposed to focusing on our economy and this fiscal cliff. They seem to be focusing on other areas and folks are afraid that their rights to the Second Amendment are going to be limited and they won't be able to purchase firearms to be able to defend themselves and their families," said Sheriff Campbell.
The numbers of applications in Marion County for license to carry a handgun are reflective of the state as a whole. In November 2012, 756 people applied for a license, while in December 2012, there were 1,116 applications to bring the total for the year to 9,200. That's an increase of 2,600 from 2011.
The process to get a license to carry a firearm in Indiana requires the applicant to submit fingerprints to the state police, have a criminal background check and fill out an application, plus paying a fee.
McQueen is applying for a lifetime license that will cost him a one-time fee of $125.
McQueen filled out his application online and had his fingerprints scanned and electronically submitted to the state police. He is expecting to receive his license in the mail within two weeks. For those that do not use the online application, the wait is three to four months or longer as more people apply.