AKRON, Ohio - Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander said he's concerned about a surge in the number of residents applying for a carrying concealed weapon permit.
"I think you have to understand in today's society, we don't know who is carrying weapons out there," Alexander said.
In 2011, the Summit County Sheriff's department issued 1,252 CCW permits. That number will easily be surpassed this year. The department has issued 1,168 permits through July and 93 more applications were submitted in the first nine days of August.
"The recent shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin obviously are having some effect," Alexander said.
Alexander said he supports the 2nd amendment, the right to bear arms, but is bothered that Ohio's CCW law only calls for 10 hours of firearms training in a classroom and an additional two hours of experience shooting at a range.
He would like to see those hours increased and more thorough background checks conducted.
"The average citizen that' getting their CCW license out there doesn't have the firearms training that a lot of NRA members and law enforcement officers have," Alexander said.
The Dayton Daily News reported that the state's sheriffs issued 18,823 CCW permits in the first three months of 2012. That's about a 40 percent increase from the same period two years ago.
The newspaper also reported that advocates are crediting recent law changes making it more comfortable for people to carry concealed weapons into restaurants and bars that serve liquor, as well as in school safety zones.
Nick Teresko, a senior at Kent State University, is working on getting his CCW permit.
He made that decision before a student allegedly posted a message on Twitter, threatening to "shoot up campus."
"I think it's important to go out and get your carry concealed. I know if you go out and do those classes, it'll give more people a better understanding of firearms safety," Teresko said.
Scott Martin, a sales manager at Pro Armament and Riverside Range in Cuyahoga Falls, said the sale of personal protection handguns is also on the rise.
He believes the recent mass shootings are only part of the reason.
"Is it a knee-jerk reaction? To some degree, but I think it helps people understand that law enforcement is reactionary. And, if you have to protect yourself, you must rely upon yourself," Martin said.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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