On Dec. 14, 2012, the national conversation on gun control changed in the matter of hours.
A 20-year-old gunman named Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and went on a rampage killing 26 students and faculty members before turning the gun on himself.
In the year since, the debate on guns, gun control and the rights under the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment have been at the forefront of national debate. While measures have been taken by President Obama to increase gun control, locally, the number of gun permits have skyrocketed.
Patch requested the number of gun permits issued in Chester Township, Chester Borough, Mendham Township, and Mendham Borough over the past three years. While the total number of permits was different in each town, there was one constant: all towns have seen dramatic increases each year since 2011, with 2013, in some cases showing the highest number yet.
Of the four municipalities, Chester Township has seen the largest number of gun permits applied for in 2013, along with the largest increase over the past three years:
- 2011: 67 permits applied for
- 2012: 167 permits applied for
- 2013: 260 permits applied for through Dec. 5
In the last three years, Chester Township’s gun permit application number increased nearly 300-percent.
Mendham Township had the second highest number of permits issued in 2013 with 164 through Dec. 5. No records for 2011 or 2012 were immediately available. While the previous two years’ data wasn’t readily available, Sgt. Ross Johnson said the police department had seen a noticeable uptick in applications and permits issued in 2013.
Mendham Borough, recently named the best town to live in the state by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, also saw a marked increase in gun permits in 2013.
- 2011: 29 gun permits issued
- 2012: 57 gun permits issued
- 2013: 81 gun permits issued
That increase resembles a nearly 300-percent jump since 2011.
Chester Borough had the lowest number of gun permits issued, but also has the lowest population of the four towns.
- 2011: 7 gun permits issued
- 2012: 11 gun permits issued
- 2013: 18 gun permits issued
Since 2011, the borough has seen more than a 250-percent increase in gun permits issued.
Earlier this year, Patch compiled seven years’ worth of gun permit records in Washington Township, which saw the same upward trend with 2012 (the last year with more than 11 months worth of records) having the highest gun permits issued in that town’s history. As of Feb. 5, 2013, Washington Township was on pace to shatter the previous year’s total.
What do you think of the numbers? Did you expect such a jump in the figures over the past few years? Are they higher than you thought; lower or about right?