The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation says Oklahomans raced to get gun licenses in the month of January, creating a heavy burden on the bureau as it struggles to process the applications.
A record number of people applied for gun licenses last month. The OSBI received 4,970 initial applications, a record number since the inception of gun licensing in Oklahoma in January 1996. The previous record of 3,949 applications was set in February 1996, soon after Oklahoma's Self Defense Act became law.
The new gun license applications, combined with 1,137 renewal applications in January, have created an unexpectedly heavy workload for the bureau. To meet the demand, the OSBI has hired more full-time and part-time workers for its Self Defense Unit. The bureau is also drafting employees from other OSBI divisions to help.
The OSBI will not speculate on a reason for the increase, but it comes amid worries about President Barack Obama's push for stronger gun control legislation, and in the aftermath of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.