While the world weighs in on gun control, more people are applying to carry concealed weapons in Deschutes County. Sheriff Larry Blanton tells us since the tragedy in Connecticut, their phones have been busy with people asking questions about concealed handgun licenses (CHLs).
Blanton says there's currently more than 9,500 people with CHLs in Deschutes County and more are getting them every day.
Wednesday afternoon, Jeremy Krohn walked into the sheriff's ofice with a mission. The 21-year-old from La Pine wants a concealed handgun license. Why? Lots of reasons, but the main one he shares with many other people: he wants to protect his family, including his fiance.
"I think everyone has that primal instinct," said Krohn.
To do that, he's willing to fill out the pages of paperwork required, have his picture taken, along with his fingerprints, and complete a safety class as required by law.
"People just want what you have," said Krohn. "At any time, someone could come in and try and take it, and I think you have to be ready to deal with that."
Another La Pine man looking to get his CHL spoke with NewsChannel 21 Wednesday afternoon at the sheriff's office. Fresh out of serving time in the military, 21-year-old Justin Conboy is worried about his right to bear arms.
"People go about getting firearms illegally, and I guess it kind of worries me that that could become a problem with me being able to get mine legally," said Conboy.
One person who fully supports people like Conboy who apply for a CHL is the sheriff.
"We process new or renew about 300 licenses per month," said Blanton.
Blanton says since the shooting in Connecticut, people who once started a CHL application but never finished it are coming back now. But because of the influx, the wait is much longer.
"It's not a 'hurry up' process, and not for everybody" Blanton said. "It's a huge responsibility."
But as long as you're over 21 years old and have a clean record, it is your right.
Visit the county's CHL program Website for more information.