New Milford Gun Permit Applications More Than Double From Same Time Last Year
Applications for gun permits issued in New Milford during January and February 2013 more than double from same time period in 2012.
Police Chief Frank Papapietro reported that New Milford received 61 applications for handgun permits during the first two months of 2013, more than double the amount received during the same time period in 2012. According to Papapietro, there were only 25 handgun applications during the first two months of 2012.
Included in these numbers are applications for firearm I.D. cards that allow a person to purchase a shotgun or rifle. (In order to obtain a handgun permit you first need a firearm ID card.)
Papapietro attributes this rise, in part, to pending legislation intended to make gun laws more stringent. In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, a growing number of local, state and federal legislators are calling for stricter gun control laws.
"Because of pending legislation calling for tighter restrictions, people who had been considering purchasing a gun want to do it before the laws change," Papapietro said.
Papapietro also attributes Superstorm Sandy with its extensive power outages to the rise in applications.
"Sandy was a crisis situation where people lost faith in the infrastructure," Papapietro said.
Many residents in New Milford were without power for ten days and local law enforcement agencies throughout Bergen County were stretched to their limits.
"Not only was law enforcement responding to regular emergency calls, but we were tasked with maintaining peace and providing crowd and traffic control during the gas crisis," Papapietro said.
"In addition to that, we were also diligently policing areas without power and making our presence felt around town to give comfort to our residents by letting them know we were here and they were protected," he added.
However, Papapietro said that Sandy was a game changer in that people have come to expect that a significant loss of power will accompany every large storm.
"A crisis like Sandy drives people's fears because there's an overwhelming sense of powerlessness when you're without power for that long," Papapietro said.
"For some people, having a gun in the house alleviates those fears by making them feel that they can protect their family should anything threaten their security during a time of crisis."