Gun owners are flooding the state with applications for concealed weapons permits, with almost 45,000 applications filed in 2008, easily a record number, quadrupling the figure from just four years ago.
With the surge, about one in every 25 Utahns over age 21 could be carrying a licensed concealed weapon, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis of numbers from the Bureau of Criminal Identification.
In December, alone, BCI received 6,000 permit requests — the highest number ever, capping a year with six record-breaking months.
In all, about 71,000 Utahns have a license to pack a concealed weapon. It is estimated that another 71,000 out-of-state residents have a Utah permit.
Experts say the sharp increase in the numbers can be attributed to several factors: national politics, the economic downturn and well-publicized shootings.