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Sheriffs' Departments React To Increased Gun Sales

The sheriffs of Clatsop and Pacific counties say they aren’t worried about the surge of guns coming into the two counties as citizens fearful of firearms regulations stock up.

“It’s a right, and I support that a thousand percent,” said Clatsop County Sheriff Tom Bergin. “I hope that this government sees through this knee-jerk reaction that’s saying, ‘We’re going to ban assault weapons,’ or ‘Do this or do that.’ Unfortunately, it’s put a big bind on purchasing ammunition for law enforcement or recreational shooting.”

Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson is also concerned about the rising cost of ammunition for the department, which already faces budget concerns. He said the department’s .223s are approaching $1 a round.

Johnson also supports the right to lawfully own guns. He said 99.9 percent of all gun owners are responsible with their weapons.

He does not support gun registration. “The bad guys aren’t going to register their guns.”

Far from dread at the thought of the all the recent gun sales, Bergin see a potential benefit.

“I think the more people we have trained and armed that are not running around willy-nilly, the safer our society is,” Bergin said. “I support them a hundred percent.”

The statistics show more of Bergin’s neighbors may agree. In the Jan. 1 to March 28 period of 2012, 97 residents obtained concealed handgun licenses in Clatsop County. In the same period this year that figure jumped more than 240 percent to 232. Currently Clatsop County has 1,899 active concealed handgun licenses.

The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office also noticed a spike in permits for the first part of 2013. The sheriff’s office reports 109 residents were issued concealed pistol licenses between Jan. 1 and March 28, 2012. The same period this year saw 234 licenses issued. That’s an increase of about 215 percent.

This story originally appeared in Coast River Business Journal.