The steep upswings in concealed handgun licenses follow the December shootings at Clackamas Town Center, which left two shoppers dead and one wounded, as well as the horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which took the lives of 20 children and six adults.
The high-profile incidents at once touched off a nationwide drive for stricter gun control as well as a rush to buy guns before more restrictive laws might be passed. In December, the number of FBI background checks for gun purchases through federally licensed dealers soared by 39 percent.
Although the initial surge is past, the Oregon numbers remain high, suggesting an enduring shift in attitudes and behavior. Reasons for obtaining a concealed handgun license run the gamut, but personal safety is at the top of the list.