Posted at: 03/28/2013 6:46 PM
By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 News) -- In the months following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, both state and federal lawmakers have turned their attention to gun laws.
The proposals range from severe restrictions to outright bans on certain kinds of weapons.
And in return, people are exercising their current right to bear arms in record numbers.
Since President Obama's re-election in November, Mower County has issued 535 new gun permits, with 383 of those issued for new hand guns or military-style rifles.
The sheriff's office says the demand has put a strain on department staff.
“We need overtime hours now so she can get her other work done and stuff to catch up on the permits to purchase," said Chief Deputy Mark May.
The Langtry Cafe in Brownsdale, which offered a discount to customers who chose to conceal and carry Thursday, has been offering gun classes the past few months.
And the owner, who applied for his own permit on Monday, said they've had no trouble packing them in.
“We filled that class up right away, so then we had a second class. We sold that out right away,” said owner Steve Nagel. “And now a third class is sold out and the fourth one's just about sold out."
County officials said the increase in permit requests is likely a knee-jerk reaction to proposed gun legislation, but advocates said it's more about sending lawmakers a message.
“I've had them tell me that they're just out here to take the class and show the government that they're watching,” Nagel said. “They want to get the numbers up in Minnesota."
Mower County officials said processing the permit requests used to take about a week, but now with the increased volume that wait time has been pushed back to between three weeks and a month.