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Minnehaha County is on pace to issue more permits for concealed weapons in 2011 than ever before in a single year.

The increase follows a four-year upward trend in permits statewide and parallels strong gun sales nationwide since late 2008.

Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said 477 permits for concealed weapons were issued in the first nine weeks of the year, compared with 427 at this time last year.

“We’re trending up again this year,” Milstead said. “We’ve noticed a continued interest in these concealed carry permits.”

If the trend holds, the total permits will surpass 2009’s record of 2,280. That year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation performed 5.7 million background checks for gun retailers – a jump of more than 200,000 in one year.

Gun retailers say concerns about tighter gun control legislation from a Democratic president are behind the swell in sales, driving customers to buy weapons before any new restrictions come into play.

Source: John Hult for Argus Leader.

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