The number of Virginians who obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon jumped 60 percent last year over 2006, an increase that many gun experts say was a reaction to the fatal shootings of 32 students and professors at Virginia Tech.
In Northern Virginia, the numbers were much the same. In Fairfax County, there were 2,471 concealed-carry permits issued in 2007, a 64 percent increase. In Prince William County, the number rose to 1,636, a nearly 59 percent gain. In Loudoun, the number of permits issued was 962, a 52 percent increase.
People applying for a concealed-weapon permit do not have to explain why they want one. But most experts think the Virginia Tech shootings, in which a heavily armed student met no resistance as he went from classroom to classroom firing, could explain the sudden increase in applications.