Minnesota reported a record number permits to carry firearms were issued in 2020.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released its annual Permit to Carry Report Monday. The report shows that Minnesota law enforcement agencies received 101,897 permit applications in 2020, while 96,554 permits were issued.
Permits to carry issued were higher last year than any other year since the state’s Personal Protection Act was established in 2003.
By comparison, the number of permits issued in Minnesota in 2019 was 51,404.
Individuals looking to obtain a permit to carry a firearm must apply through their local sheriff’s department and show proof of training. Sheriff’s departments then perform a background check.
In addition to the 1,191 permits that were denied in 2020, sheriffs also suspended 103 permits, revoked 36 permits and voided 968 permits.
According to the BCA, individuals with permits to carry committed 3,110 crimes last year, also more than any other year since 2003. But the BCA notes that a firearm was used to further less than 2% of those crimes.
More than half of crimes committed by permit carriers were DWI’s or other traffic offenses, while 30% were in the“other” category, which includes city ordinance and hunting violations.
Minnesota isn’t the only state to see record interest in firearm permits. According to Business Insider, the FBI processed 39.7 million firearm background checks last year, more than any other year since the agency started collecting that data in 1998.
Uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact, along with civil unrest over the summer, likely contributed to the increase, according to Brookings.
Gun permit applications also tend to rise in election years, but the increase in Minnesota in 2020 was far in excess of the rise in 2016.