About six months after Wisconsin became the 49th state to allow residents to carry concealed weapons, the demand for permits exceeded expectations
Friday, Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced the 100,000th concealed carry permit had been printed in the state. The Department of Justice expected to process 125,000 applications after one year, but nearly reached that number just six months after the law was enacted.
Van Hollen says he doesn't know if Wisconsin is more or less safe, but there haven't been any problems reported.
Wausau Police Dept. Chief Bryan Hilts says it's not the permit holders he's worried about.
"It doesn't really alarm me at all, what alarms me is the criminal who's not going to bother to get a concealed carry permit," Hilts said. "Those are the people that I'm much more concerned about."
But law abiding citizens do get pulled over once in awhile. In that case, Hilts says if you have a legal weapon on you or in your vehicle, tell the officer immediately.
"We would ask them to follow the directions of the officer very carefully," he said.
The high amount of concealed carry permits has also meant a big boost in business for firearms dealers, especially those that sell weapons and provide training.
"Sales are very strong," said Fred Prehn, the owner of Central Wisconsin Firearms in downtown Wausau.
Prehn says the business has trained more than 1,000 people from throughout the area, and has been on trend with record gun sales also seen around the country.
But it should be stressed that the decision to carry a concealed weapon is a big one.
"There's a lot that goes into if you use your gun for self defense purposes," he said. "It's not just are you gonna be charged for murder, it's gonna be a lot of other legal problems. It's a big decision whether you should carry or not."