The number of Portland-area residents seeking concealed handgun licenses has spiked in the two weeks since a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech University, reports the Associated Press. Weekly requests for the licenses have tripled in Multnomah County and doubled in neighboring Washington County. “The world’s no more dangerous today than it was the day before the Virginia Tech incident,” said Lt. Jason Gates of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. “But people see this and they panic.”
Howard Baker, who teaches gun safety in Washington County, is one of those who believes that more guns available for self-defense might have helped at Virginia Tech. “Instead of hiding under desks and jumping out windows, if someone had some lead and guts, he might have killed some, but it wouldn’t have been 32,” he said. Lt. John Black of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office said it’s common to see a jump in the number of concealed handgun license applicants after a violent attack gets massive media exposure. A sharp increase followed the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.