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Concealed carry permits hit all-time high in Guilford County in 2016

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Concealed carry permits reached an all-time high last year in Guilford County, but now those numbers are starting to taper off.

The sheriff's office says numbers peaked going in to the November election and they believe most people signed up for self-protection.

"We sell more handguns than anything else and shotguns for home protection," said Don Efird, a salesman at Archdale Arms.

Sales went up at Archdale Arms in 2016.

"It's all driven by demand for self-protection," Efird said.

At the Guilford County Sheriff's Office, requests for concealed carry permits have been higher the last two years.

"Things such as terrorist attacks, where we saw in Paris or events down in Florida, immediately after, we have seen upticks in pistol permits and also CCW applications," Capt. Tony Caliendo said.

In 2015, Guilford County issued about 3,600 CCW permits. Last year, that number jumped to nearly 6,000.

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Both Caliendo and Efird say more women make up those numbers than ever before.

"They feel more comfortable with it and with that comes a reassurance that OK, I know I can protect myself or my loved ones, and I know how to properly handle it and be safe," Caliendo said.

"It's reflective of a safety issue, a desire for safety. It is a tough world out there," Efird said.

But after the 2016 election, that trend began to change.

"Whether you had a purpose for it at that time, there was an urgency in their mind to buy," Efird said.

From November 2016 to January 2017, permits dropped by 17 percent compared to that time the year before.

"Handguns, as much as we think you should have one, for most households they're not a necessity," Efird said about the drop

A North Carolina concealed carry permit has a $90 price tag, but Caliendo says it has other perks.

"Applying for a concealed carry weapons permit allow them obviously other privileges that they can carry that with them for protection," he said. "But it ensures that they're also attending a class and a certification course, and I do think that makes them safer overall."

Caliendo also said with more people applying, the wait time to get a permit is longer than usual. Right now, you'll have to schedule an appointment to submit your payment and application about a month out.

From then, it takes about 45 to 60 days to get your concealed carry permit in Guilford County.