Pierce Co. pistol license applications, sales increase

Pierce Co. pistol license applications, sales increase

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

kgw.com

Posted on January 27, 2014 at 11:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 28 at 6:52 AM

TACOMA -- Demand for Concealed Pistol Licenses in South Sound and Pierce County has jumped significantly in just three years, largely due to increased discussion over gun control and safety concerns in the wake of firearm-related violence.

"In the last three or four years, we've increased something like 50 percent," explained Russell Barber, who supervises permit applications for South Sound 911, "Last year, we went from fifty to 100-110 a day, overnight.

"The day of a big national event, that day it doubled."

The numbers are an important indicator in advance of two statewide initiatives that will likely be on the ballot in Washington later in 2014.

I-594 would require background checks on all gun sales. I-591 would essentially keep background checks the same.

Tuesday, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords will join others testifying on the initiatives.

While gun control and public safety remain driving forces behind the gun control movement, in addition to driving license applications up, it's increasing sales.

Brian Borgelt, manager of Tacoma's Bull's Eye Shooting Range, said Monday his sport is growing.

"Our numbers have doubled in the last couple years," he said, "We at times have had problems serving the demand."

Driving the increase, Borgelt said, "the antis."

"To impose more legislation that's going to negatively impact people that want to enjoy this sport because of a few who make bad decisions," commented Borgelt. "I don't think that's appropriate."

Borgelt's business gained national attention because of a few who did make "bad decisions." The D.C. snipers, John Muhammad and Lee Malvo, shoplifted a gun from Borgelt's gun shop before their 2002 crime spree.

Ian Stawicki, who killed six people, including four at Seattle's Cafe Racer, also bought his guns from Borgelt's store.

He lost his federal license to sell weapons in 2009 for poor bookkeeping.

Now, Borgelt said the site will reopen with a new owner who has a new federal license.

"I have no intentions of selling guns again," he said, pointing out he is merely the landlord. "There's another gentleman opening to sell firearms."

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