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Request for gun permits up since Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

After the threat on Americans’ safety from the terrorist attackslast month, more citizens are opting to take security matters intotheir own hands.

Since Sept. 11, applications for firearm permits have been onthe rise in Mississippi with more people looking for ways to defendagainst attacks.

“We’ve taken 25-30 applications since then, compared to 15-20 (amonth), which we usually see,” said Sandra Britt, of the MHPDriver’s License Division on Highway 51, where citizens ofsouthwest Mississippi can apply for gun permits.

While law enforcement officers are still prevalent in the area,many people have a greater need for security, according toauthorities.

“People are taking care of themselves more these days,” ErrolPierce, of the MHP public relations office, said about theincrease.

A firearm permit gives citizens the opportunity to have afirearm close by when needed.

“It allows them to carry it (a gun) on them as long as thepremises they are on allows it,” explained Britt.

Some areas, such as federal and state buildings, schools andchurches, do not allow firearms. For a fee, though, citizens maycarry a concealed weapon many other places as long as they havetheir permit with them when carrying a gun.

Firearm permits, which cost $124 for four years and $74 forrenewal, fall under the Second Amendment which gives citizens theright to bear arms.

During the 1990 Mississippi Legislative session, lawmakers gaveauthority for the Department of Public Safety to issue firearmpermits to those who meet requirements. Requirements include aperson’s criminal, mental, alcohol and drug records being clear forat least three years before a permit may be sought.

Applications can be made at any MHP district substation, andwill take 120 days for approval or denial.

Permits are not required for those wanting to possess a firearmin a vehicle.

“People can carry a handgun in their vehicles, concealed or not,with or without a permit because the state government sees that asan extension of the right to bear arms,” Britt explained.

According to the National Rifle Association, firearms are usedas often as 2.5 million times a year in self-defense, with the vastmajority showing no shots being fired.

Anyone wishing to find out more information about carryingfirearms, can call the Department of Public Safety at (601)987-1212 or visit their website at www.dps.state.ms.us