Newtown police have received 209 permit requests through Aug. 8, according to CNN, already exceeding the 171 permits requested in 2012. In 2011, the town received a total of 99 gun permit requests.
The spike appears to be driven by fear of the state's new gun control laws passed following the shootings that killed 26 people — including 20 children — when 20-year-old gunman Adam Lanza opened fire at the elementary school. In April, state lawmakers pushed a package of gun control measures — an expanded assault weapons ban, additional background checks and a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines — considered among the strictest in the nation.
“The fact that they were reeling in and squeezing more laws made me think, ‘You know what? I want my gun permit,’” Nancy Ellis, a 66-year-old grandmother who was recently issued a gun permit, told the Daily News. “I want to exercise my right.” Ellis, a long-time Newtown resident, now lives in nearby Southbury.
"I think people realize that you can't call the police all the time and expect them to save you," Bill Stevens, a 48-year-old Newtown resident who owns more than a dozen firearms, told the Wall Street Journal. "It's sinking in to some folks that 'I need to take responsibility for keeping my family safe.'"
Local gun control advocates disagree.
"If you look at how many guns the Lanza family had in their home and what that led to, it's a recipe for disaster," Dave Ackert, a local resident and founder of gun-control advocacy group Newtown Action Alliance, told CNN.
"I have mixed views as a gun owner," Stacey Zimmerman, a 39-year-old Newtown resident, told the Journal. "Driving by the school every day makes me question the need or desire to own a firearm."
The uptick in gun sales, or potential gun sales, following a mass shooting is nothing new. According to the FBI, background checks for gun purchases increased in Arizona and Colorado following the mass shootings in Tucson and Aurora.