‘Concealed carry’ permit numbers continue to climb

By Keaton J. MacBeth
Staff writer

CLARION – The Clarion County Sheriff’s Office issued 1,326 concealed carry permits in 2015. That number is up slightly from 2014 when 1,262 such permits were issued.

Clarion County Sheriff Rex Munsee said the county issued 225 permits in December alone. Munsee said the county was actually on track until December to issues the fewest number of pistol permits since 2011.

The concealed carry permit numbers were part of Munsee’s year-end report for 2015.

A concealed carry permit allows citizens to carry a hand gun concealed on their person in most public places. It also allows a person to keep a hand gun in their vehicle, for instance in a glove box.

The permits also allow a person to carry a hand gun into another state that will recognize a license issued in Pennsylvania.

Munsee said after the Dec. 2, 2015, terrorist shooting in San Bernardino Cal., occurred, more people came in to get a concealed carry permit.

Munsee said there are two factors that usually make people want to get a pistol permit.

One is if there is an incident like the one in San Bernardino.

“People want to get a pistol and a pistol permit so they feel safe after an incident like that,” Munsee said.

Munsee said the other reason for the rise in pistol permits is people are afraid the government is going to try to implement laws restricting firearm ownership or try to take firearms away from people.

“The same thing happened after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, people didn’t feel safe, and they also thought the government was going to take guns away,” Munsee said.

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary the number of pistol permits issued by the sheriff’s office almost doubled.

In 2011, a year before the shooting, there were 870 permits issued. In 2012, the number of permits jumped up to 1,757.

The number of permits held close to that in 2013 at 1,739.

Munsee said the number of people coming in to get a pistol permit those years was almost too much for the office to handle.

“I almost had to ask the county commissioners for another secretary, but the numbers began to slow down,” Munsee said.

Munsee said the number for concealed carry permits has been holding steady at over 1,000 per year but said when there is an incident the number tends to jump.

Munsee said with the number of permits up the amount of money collected has also gone up. Each permit costs the applicant $20, and then that money is given back to the county.

Transportation costs

Another area of interest on the yearend report was transportation. The sheriff’s office is responsible for transporting inmates from the Clarion County Jail to court appearances and vice versa, medical appointments to and from state prisons.

Munsee said transportation costs for the county are down due to several factors.

“Back a few years ago when gas was $4 a gallon we went over our budget for transportation and take money from other line items,” said Munsee. “With the cost of gas going down our transportation cost are down considerably.”

Another reason transportation costs are down is jail administrators and district judges are using video arraignment.

Video arraignment is used when a person who was arrested for a crime and housed in the Clarion County Jail because they could not post bail, appear in front of the district magistrate via television screen and is arraigned from the jail.

Munsee said this is keeping transportation cost down as the sheriff’s department does not have to transport as many people to and from court appearances.

Munsee said if a person is wanted in Clarion County and they are in jail in another county, video arraignment is used to save the sheriff’s department from having to go pick up someone so they can be present for a court appearance.

It goes both ways if a person is in the Clarion Country Jail and wanted for a crime in another county video arraignment saves the sheriff’s department from having to take that person to their court appearance.


Munsee said the Clarion County Sheriff’s office generated $182,036 in revenue for the county.

Munsee said all the money generated by the sheriff’s office is not profit however.

“We (the sheriff’s department) have a $600,000 budget so that $182,036 is not profit but making back some of our budget, which helps the county,” said Munsee. “If there was a business called the sheriff’s office, that business would be in the red.

“What we do make in revenue is better than some departments that only spend money form the county budget.”