Concealed weapon permits rise dramatically in Gloucester, Mathews

by Quinton Sheppard - Posted on May 29, 2013 - 02:12 PM

Photo: Gun owner Chris Williams of Gloucester discusses his options of pawning a rifle Monday with Gail Epstein, owner of Courthouse Pawnshop in Gloucester. Epstein said the number of residents coming into her shop to buy, sell or trade guns has increased dramatically since December. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Gun owner Chris Williams of Gloucester discusses his options of pawning a rifle Monday with Gail Epstein, owner of Courthouse Pawnshop in Gloucester. Epstein said the number of residents coming into her shop to buy, sell or trade guns has increased dramatically since December. Photo by Quinton Sheppard

Concealed handgun permits are on the rise locally, reflecting a trend that has become common nationwide in recent years.

According to Gloucester Circuit Court Clerk Margaret Walker, issuance of concealed permits nearly doubled between 2011 and 2012.

In 2011, 497 permits were issued in Gloucester, while 780 were issued in 2012. As of April 30, 545 permits have been issued in 2013 in Gloucester; nearly 300 more than those issued at the same time last year, she said.

This trend is also reflected in Mathews County. There, Circuit Court Clerk Angela Ingram said 107 permits were issued in that county in 2011; 187 in 2012. So far this year, she said the clerk’s office has issued 70 permits.

Randy Greene, owner of Six Rivers Armory at Hayes, said he has only been open for about two-and-a-half years, but in that time, he has seen a definite increase in sales. "It’s been most noticeable in the last five months," Greene said. "We’ve had a huge increase in the number of gun sales since December."

According to Greene, most people that come into his shop looking for a gun are very forthright in their reason. One major category of gun buyer, he said, is the traditional hunter with a gun collection always looking to add to his or her collection.