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New report: Gun applications soared in 2012

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Minnesota sheriffs issued 31,657 gun permits in 2012, a more than 50 percent increase over 2011, according to new state report:

2012: 31,657
2011: 20,772
2010: 17,240
2009: 22,378
2008: 21,646

Gun rights advocates say sales increased last year in part because of fears that gun rights might be curbed by Congress under pressure from President Barack Obama.

Gun store owners noted an increase in buyers after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., rekindled the national debate about gun control.

Minnesota counties with the most permits issued in 2012:

Hennepin (552)
Dakota (291)
Ramsey (198)
Washington (103)
Brown (86)

In all, the state of 5.3 million residents has about 125,000 valid gun permits, FOX 9 and KARE 11 report.

In 2012, residents with permits committed 296 crimes, nearly half for DWIs or other traffic offenses, the report says, although KARE 11 notes that the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension offers the crime numbers cautiously. That's because not all police departments have submitted data on crimes and on justifiable use of firearms by permit holders as required by Minnesota law.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension has a long list of frequently asked questions about gun permits.

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