Fear of Safety Causes Spike in Permit to Carry Applications For Benton, Stearns Counties
FOLEY -- Reports of violent attacks, increased threats of terrorism and fears of political change has many Benton and Stearns County residents rethinking their rights to bare arms.
Local authorities say they have noticed a significant increase in permit to carry applications this year than in years past.
Benton County County Sheriff Troy Heck says they are on pace to break their monthly average.
"Through the first 11 days of October we took in 45 permits to carry applications and for a frame of reference a high month for us is in the mid 80's for the whole month," says Heck.
Stearns County Chief Deputy Bruce Bechtold says they have also seen an increase in permit applications since the Crossroad incident. To date the Sheriff's Office has received 1630 permit to carry applications which is over 150 from 2015.
He adds the county also sees an increase in applications during political campaigns as well.
To apply for a permit to carry a person needs an official document of training within a year of applying for a permit, before a background check is conducted.
Heck says while it's good residents are taking responsibility for their personal safety, he reminds you that having a permit to carry does not make you a police officer.
"For permit to carry holders this is a last resort option and you use this when you don't have any other means to protect yourself, like running away or calling the police," says Heck.
A St. Cloud resident recently had an incident where he had a permit to carry, and pulled out his gun to thwart off an attacker in the Walmart parking lot.