Pennsylvania handgun sales have skyrocketed in the last decade, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. And it doesn’t appear to be because Pennsylvanians love hunting:
State data showing rapidly increased gun sales indicate that Pennsylvanians, who have long had a tradition of sports firearms, are increasingly acquiring handguns, the type of weapon traditionally associated with self-protection. Handgun sales increased by 171 percent between 2001 and 2013, according to data from state police.
Total gun sales and transfers peaked in 2012 at 1,214,929, or about 10 per 100 people. In 2013, the number of sales and transfers in the state dropped to 808,507.
Statewide, concealed-carry permits increased by 166 percent in the same time period while sportsman’s firearms permits, which allow individuals 18 and older to carry a handgun for the purpose of hunting, fur taking, fishing or training hunting dogs in conjunction with the proper license but do not allow concealed carry, decreased by nearly 53 percent.
One thing to note: The rise in firearms purchases doesn’t necessarily mean a lot more people are carrying guns. “The top 20 percent of gun owners in the United States own about 65 percent of the guns in the country, according to a study published in the Injury Prevention Journal, so the rise in sales doesn’t reflect how many gun owners there are.”