About 60,000 handgun permits were issued to Oklahomans last year, more than double the number issued two years ago, according to data from the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
A report issued last week from the agency said that two-thirds of the licenses went to men, with one-third issued to women. The agency didn’t cite a reason for the increase in permits, but some in the gun industry said concerns over mass shootings may have contributed to the uptick in licenses.
“Sometimes, people feel very scared and helpless. A concealed carry permit gives them a realistic way
to put up a defense,” said Miles Hall, who owns H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City. Hall’s company offers the state-mandated training required for handgun permit applicants.
Hall said publicity surrounding a 2012 Oklahoma law change allowing concealed carry permit holders to carry openly may have played a factor as well.
But Suzi Rouse, president of the Oklahoma City Gun Club, said she only has seen a handful of gun owners openly carrying their weapons since the law change.
“And I’m around a lot of gun owners,” she added.
The Oklahoman reported Monday that OSBI denied licenses to 835 applicants last year, with a prior drug conviction listed as the most common reason for denial. Other reasons for denial included providing a false or misleading statement on the application and failing to submit the required fee.
As of last Friday, 190,684 Oklahomans were licensed to carry a handgun. To become licensed, an applicant is required to complete a firearms safety course and pay the required fees.
According to OSBI, 38 people had their licenses revoked and 109 were suspended in 2013. Most of the revocations and suspensions were made because the license holder had been convicted of a felony, the OSBI said.