Pistol permit applications shot up in January, with just shy of three dozen for the first full month since the shooting in Newtown and subsequent talk about gun legislation at all levels of government.
For some perspective, a total of 91 pistol permits were issued in the 2012 calendar year, but the police track the statistics annually in October. The highest October to October period, at least going back seven years, was 2011-12, with 88.
There are 44 pending pistol permits and eight have been approved for the year so far, Police Chief John Roche said Tuesday evening, but that could include applications from December or February, too. The Press counted 34 permits just in the January police log.
“It’s quite a few,” Chief Roche said. “It’s a heck of a number.”
Asked about whether he thought it was tied to recent discussion over gun legislation, Chief Roche said, “That could very well be.” But he added, “Have they expressed to us that ‘Oh my God, I’m doing this because I’m afraid I won’t be able to get one.’ No…
“I can recall after 9/11, we saw a spike. When we had the downturn in the economy, we had a spike.”
Statewide and nationally, gun sales have been booming over the past decade, and even moreso since President Obama took office.
As The Press reported last month, Ridgefield’s pistol permit applications have increased, at least going back as far as 2004-05, when there were 29 permits issued for the entire year, according to Board of Police Commissioners minutes. In 2005-06, there were 28; in 2006-07, 30; in 2007-08, 39; in 2008-09, 82; in 2009-10, 54; in 2010-11, 58; in 2011-12, 88.
The town-issued permits are temporary, 60-day permits. They give people permission to carry a concealed pistol only in the town of Ridgefield. The town then forwards the applications to the state Department of Public Safety, which then issues a five-year permit.
To get a temporary permit a resident has to supply two two-inch-by-two-inch color passport photos; a signed certificate of completion of the NRA Basic Pistol Course; a completed, notarized permit application; a certified birth certificate or other proof of citizenship or permanent residence, according Ridgefield Police description of the process. Then the applicant has to be fingerprinted by a detective and an eight-week processing period, including a background check, begins.
There are also three separate checks totaling $136.50 that have to be paid to the town police department as well as the state Department of Public Safety.
Long guns don’t require permits, and that includes rifles and shotguns, Chief Roche said.