GARDEN CITY -- Idaho gun and ammunition dealers say their sales are way up right now, and KTVB has collected data showing many more people are applying to carry concealed weapons in the Treasure Valley. This comes as Congress considers more gun control issues.
The Treasure Valley has had huge increases in people getting concealed weapons permits. For example, in Ada County last month, 1,054 new applicants filed with the sheriff's office. That's more than three times as many as applied last March, with 311 applying then.
Overall, the first quarter has seen 340% more applicants in 2013 from 2012 first quarter numbers. If this rate were to continue, there would be around 7,000 more applicants this year over last.
In Canyon County, almost as many people have applied already this year as in all of last year. 917 people had applied for concealed weapons as of April 11. In all of 2012, 1,198 people in Canyon County applied for permits.
People we talked to outside of a Garden City gun show believe worry over recent violence and a concern for self protection are part of the rise.
"You don't know who you're meeting on the streets anymore," Harvey Samuelson of Caldwell said. "You know, it doesn't matter what you do. Criminals are going to get guns. If you make it harder for the regular people to get guns, criminals are just going to increase the black market and make money that way."
Others say possible expanded government gun regulations are driving more people to apply for concealed weapons permits.
"They're scared to death of the government," Brian Averett, an Idaho gun dealer, said.
One woman told us she plans to apply soon, and her decision is tied to the current political climate.
"I just got a card to get one. I'm going next month to take my concealed weapons class," Kay Allred, Caldwell, said. "Just because [lawmakers have] made such a big thing about it."
In addition to increased concealed weapons permits, Averett told KTVB worry is also driving more people to buy and even stockpile ammunition that's become more and more scarce.
"The last time I ordered powder was in January. I was going to order 600 pounds, and they told me to check back with them in 2015," Averett said. "The bullets have been going out. We had to bring in another 75,000 this morning of 500 round boxes. They're gone."
This week Congress is set to take up a measure to strengthen background checks at gun shows and online. The Senate will debate a gun control bill that would expand checks to cover unlicensed dealers. The bill comes after a major push from the families of those killed in Newtown, many of whom went to Washington D.C. to talk to lawmakers last week.
A new concealed weapons law will go into effect in Idaho on July 1 that will provide an enhanced concealed carry weapons license that will require additional training. According to the law's purpose statement, those licenses would likely allow Idaho's permit to be recognized in most other states.