Allegheny County issued more concealed-carry gun permits than ever before last year.
Sheriff Bill Mullen, whose office issues gun permits, said this week that his office issued 20,708 permits to carry a concealed weapon in 2013, a record for his office and a 31 percent increase over 2012, when 15,797 permits were issued.
There was a "spike early" in the demand for permits, Sheriff Mullen said. He said he believes the jump was in response to the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, in which a gunman killed 20 children and six adults.
"Our volume of people coming down jumped after that, for whatever reason," he said.
It may have been that more people decided they wanted to carry a firearm for protection, or were worried that the shooting could lead to more gun control enforcement, Sheriff Mullen said. There were efforts at the federal level to put more controls on obtaining guns, but most of them were unsuccessful.
Earlier in the year, the increased demand -- coupled with problems caused by a new computer system -- led to wait times of about 45 days between a person's application for a permit and their receipt of one. But Sheriff Mullen said after some personnel changes, along with the gradual decreasing of demand, the wait time has been reduced to less than 10 days.
With January over, Sheriff Mullen said it does not seem as though the office is on track to break the record again in another record for 2014.
"It's back to normal," he said.
Kaitlynn Riely: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1707.