VALE, Ore. -- If you're looking to start carrying a concealed handgun in far southeastern Oregon, be prepared to wait.

There's been a rush to apply for concealed carry permits at the Malheur County sheriff's office. Sign-ups that used to be available on a this-week-or-next basis aren't available until June.

The Ontario Argus Observer reports the sheriff's office processed 398 applications for permits last year.

In the first three months of this year, it has already gotten 244 applications.

A rising percentage are from women.

Most applicants need a training session.

The sheriff's department and firearms trainer Jim Warner say people seeking permits are giving various reasons. They say they can't pinpoint one cause, such as President Barack Obama's push for gun legislation or the aftermath of the shootings at Newtown, Conn.

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