Last summer, Montville Patch began looking at the number of pistol permits issued in the town. The idea was born after visiting a local gun shop where an employee shared how busy the location was, and not just for sales of guns but also gun safety courses signups; a requisite part of the application process. And also after hearing that Montville Police detectives, Mayor Ronald McDaniel said last spring, were spending a lot of their time performing background checks for those permits.
Patch learned that from January 2012 to July 2012, 86 new gun permits were issued, although the number of applications far exceeded the number granted.
“There’s a lot of scared people out there,” said Ernie Kingman of Outpost Guns and Ammo last summer.
“It’s no secret or surprise that more and more people come in here: shootings, crime and fear," he said. "Those are your reasons.” Store owner Carl DelVecchio declined to comment.
Where are the guns?
This week, the New Haven Register did a comprehensive, town-by-town breakdown of the number of gun permits statewide. The town with the most was Canaan and the least, perhaps surprisingly, was Hartford.
In Montville, with a 2012 population of about 19,500, some 1,258 residents hold pistol permits which 6.4% of the population. Although towns with higher rates, like Canaan, with 13% have a tenth of our population. And Montville’s numbers were higher than nearby towns with like New London (2%) and Groton (3.8%). Norwich has twice Montville’s population but less than have the number of permits.
Following the Newtown shootings on Dec. 14, the Montville Police Department was inundated with applications. In fact, in the two weeks (which included the Christmas and New Years holiday) from Dec. 14 until the first for the year, 35 permit applications were received.
Montville Resident State Trooper Sgt. Martin Martinez said that while there was a significant increase in the number of permits after the Newtown shooting, only residents that can pass muster will get those permits signed off on.
“The individuals that have applied for the permits are law abiding Montville residents,” he said.
Martinez said that as part of the application process, “all individuals have extensive background checks conducted to include submission of fingerprints that are forwarded to the FBI for further checks.”