Requests for licenses to carry guns more than doubled in a recent three-month period, prompting the Texas Department of Public Safety to boost staffing, adjust resources and warn gun owners about how to avoid potential delays.
The department said Thursday that it had received 136,000 requests for licenses in December, January and February. That’s a nearly 140 percent increase over the 57,000 applications submitted in the same three-month period the year before.
The spike follows the trend in recent years of more and more Texans acquiring a license to carry a handgun. Ten years ago there were just under 260,000 Texans with such a license; by the end of last month, there were more than 966,000 active gun license holders in the state.
But the latest jump – which some attribute to national security fears, among other factors – surprised even some seasoned veterans of Texas’ gun debate.
“Nearly triple – that’s pretty significant,” said former Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, who as a state senator wrote the original concealed carry bill in 1995.