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Gun Permits Issued at Staggering Rate in Neighboring Towns

Residents in Mendhams, Chesters seeking firearms registration at double, triple, quadruple pace over the last three years.

Patch File Photo.
Patch File Photo.

On Dec. 14, 2012, the national conversation on gun control changed in the matter of hours.

A 20-year-old gunman named Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and went on a rampage killing 26 students and faculty members before turning the gun on himself. 

In the year since, the debate on guns, gun control and the rights under the U.S. Constitution’s 2nd Amendment have been at the forefront of national debate. While measures have been taken by President Obama to increase gun control, locally, the number of gun permits have skyrocketed.

Earlier this year, Patch compiled seven years’ worth of gun permit records in Washington Township, which saw an upward trend with 2012 (the last year with more than 11 months worth of records) having the highest gun permits issued in the town’s history. As of Feb. 5, 2013, Washington Township was on pace to shatter the previous year’s total.

Detailed figures on 2013's totals have been requested and Patch will report on that when information is obtained. 

Patch requested the number of gun permits issued in Chester Township, Chester Borough, Mendham Township, and Mendham Borough over the past three years. While the total number of permits was different in each town, there was one constant: all towns have seen dramatic increases each year since 2011, with 2013, in some cases showing the highest number yet.

Of the four municipalities, Chester Township has seen the largest number of gun permits applied for in 2013, along with the largest increase over the past three years:

  • 2011: 67 permits applied for
  • 2012: 167 permits applied for
  • 2013: 260 permits applied for through Dec. 5

In the last three years, Chester Township’s gun permit application number increased nearly 400-percent.

Mendham Township had the second highest number of permits issued in 2013 with 164 through Dec. 5. No records for 2011 or 2012 were immediately available. While the previous two years’ data wasn’t readily available, Sgt. Ross Johnson said the police department had seen a noticeable uptick in applications and permits issued in 2013.

Mendham Borough, recently named the best town to live in the state by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, also saw a marked increase in gun permits in 2013.

  • 2011: 29 gun permits issued
  • 2012: 57 gun permits issued
  • 2013: 81 gun permits issued

That increase resembles a nearly 300-percent jump since 2011.

Chester Borough had the lowest number of gun permits issued, but also has the lowest population of the four towns.

  • 2011: 7 gun permits issued
  • 2012: 11 gun permits issued
  • 2013: 18 gun permits issued

Since 2011, the borough has seen more than a 250-percent increase in gun permits issued.

All four towns had the same trend as Washington Township. Does that surprise you? Did you expect the increase?

LV Taxpayer December 12, 2013 at 02:49 PM
I grew up in a nice little town, similar to long valley in many ways. When I was a teenager, the apartments came in. 20 years later we moved out due the what they brought with them.
Not Domino December 12, 2013 at 05:56 PM
Can someone please clarify - what does the permit mean? Permission to own a handgun, or permission to own a firearm (including handgun, shotgun, rifle), or permission to carry a handgun? Sorry for the dumb question, I'm new to NJ and new to the idea of gun permits, since my former state didn't require them.
frank deuel December 12, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Its a permit to purchase a gun you also need a handgun permit along with the original permit to buy a handgun. Why is the number "staggering" isn't it good that people are going about it legally and exercising their constituional right.

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