The number of Virginians who obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon jumped 60 percent last year over 2006, reports the Washington Post. Experts attribute some of the increase to say was a reaction to the fatal shootings of 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech a year ago this week. People applying for a concealed-weapon permit do not have to explain why they want one.
Some gun rights supporters noted that the university had lobbied against legislation that would have required colleges to honor concealed-carry permits. “They wanted to create an environment where students and faculty can feel safe,” said Joel Kliesen, manager of the Dominion Shooting Range in Richmond. “A lot of folks would rather be safe than feel safe.” Shooting incidents create more publicity about gun-related issues and probably inspire more people to arm themselves, gun control supporters said. Gun-control activists and members of law enforcement noted that people who take the time to get a permit are largely law-abiding and unlikely to commit a crime.