ST. PAUL - The state says a record number of Minnesotans applied for a permit to carry a gun last year.

The annual report from the Department of Public Safety says 73,880 permits were applied for statewide, and county sheriffs offices issued 71,156 in 2016. This is the highest number of permits issued in a single year since the Minnesota legislature implemented firearms permit laws in 2003.

The top five counties to issue permits were: Hennepin, Anoka, Dakota, Washington, and Ramsey.

Here in our tri-county area, Stearns County had 2,619 applications with 38 of them denied, Sherburne County had 1,943 applications with 11 denied, and Benton County had 940 applications with six denied.

As of today, the total number of valid permits in Minnesota is nearly 266,000.