Concealed pistol applications spike: 'We all want to protect ourselves'

Concealed pistol applications spike: 'We all want to protect ourselves'
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A clean criminal record, some ink on the fingers and a little cash. Getting a license to pack a gun isn't as complicated as you might think.

Lesli Baker is applying for her Concealed Pistol License and said she wants protection when she's away at school.

"I am a young woman, a young single woman who lives by myself and I work late," said Baker. "I would like something else that is more solid that can scare people away."

Lesli is part of a big push seen recently at the Yakima Police Department; in fact, applications have spiked.

KIMA pulled the numbers and found YPD averaged about 60 applications a month during the summer. That jumped to nearly 80 in October and shot past 100 in December.

"What could YPD say as far why there's more applications now than there was 6 months ago?" KIMA asked.

"One of the things that seem to be a common theme from the applicants themselves, is that they're concerned about getting the applications in and receiving that permit before any potential gun control measures might come into play," said Yakima Police Department Lieutenant Michael Merryman.

Action News dug deeper and found Yakima isn't the only city busier than usual.

Ellensburg says it's now taking longer to process background checks to meet the demand.

Sunnyside says applications there increased dramatically the week before Christmas.

Lesli planned to get her license before the school shooting in Connecticut, but understands why more people are doing so now.

"People tend to freak out when scary things happen," said Baker. "It's natural. We all want to protect ourselves."

And, this idea of protection is surging in popularity.

YPD says applicants technically don't need training to get a Concealed Pistol License.

Officers say there's no way to know if this trend will continue.