Published November 13, 2013
Applications for pistol permits in Newtown, Conn., skyrocketed in the months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December, exceeding the entire demand for both 2011 and 2012, The Hartford Courant reported Tuesday.
Newtown residents applied for 183 permits from January through May, up 110 percent from the same period last year.
Through October, the Newtown Police Department received 253 permit applications, surpassing totals of 171 applications in 2012 and 99 in 2011.According to The Courant, all but three applications were approved in Newtown this year.
Statewide, authorities issued 18,233 new permits between March and September 2013, a 78 percent increase from the same period last year.
Local officials say the shooting likely played a role in the increase, as well as concerns over strict gun control laws passed in April, which include an expanded assault weapons ban and a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines, according to the report.
"Many people expressed their concerns even before the shooting that gun laws were going to change and there would be tighter restrictions on getting a gun permit,'' Newtown police records manager Robert Berkins told The Courant.
Meanwhile, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday that $16 million will be spent to reimburse 75 school districts for a portion of security improvements. In September, the state awarded $5 million to help pay for upgrades at 169 schools in 36 districts, for a total of $21 million, as part of the School Security Grant Program approved by the General Assembly.
"This allows us to continue to get resources out to cities and towns that have begun work to modernize their security infrastructure and ramp up safety procedures at school buildings in the wake of the horrific events on Dec. 14," said Malloy, referring to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.
The awards were based on a school security assessment conducted by each local school district that applied for the state funding. Each participating city and town will be reimbursed between 20 and 80 percent, taking into account a municipality's amount of taxable property and overall number of need-based students.
The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which is administering the grant program with help from other agencies, has received applications for projects including the installation of surveillance cameras, buzzer and card entry systems, panic alarms, bullet-proof glass and electric locks.
Malloy's office said a future round of funding will be announced soon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.