Now, more than ever, Americans are buying firearms.
According to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, in just the last three years, annual sales of firearms have jumped 40%; and many within the industry believe it could go even higher.
One of the biggest reasons for the jump in sales, 49 states have passed legislation making it easier to get a concealed weapons/carry permit, including Iowa and Missouri.
But what does it take to get a concealed carry permit in the Heartland? As KTVO found out, each state has a different, but similar process.
For example, in Missouri, the applicant must complete an eight hour course, and then must qualify on the range with that firearm. The applicant then takes the paperwork to their local sheriff with proper identification; the sheriff processes the application, fingerprints the applicant and runs a criminal background check.
But is the process strict enough?
KTVO spoke with Adair County Sheriff, Robert Hardwick.
??It??s a good process. And there are several items in the state law that require the sheriff to look at each and every permit that is issued,?? said Hardwick.
Iowa??s law is a little different. With the law changing on January 1, 2011, the Wapello County Sheriff??s Office has seen almost 2000 applicants.
In Iowa, the course is somewhat shorter, and gun owners do not have to prove they can handle the weapon, and that concerns some in law enforcement.
KTVO spoke with Wapello County Chief Deputy, Mark Miller.
??I think a lot of law enforcement agencies would have liked to see some sort of range component in the law, to where a person would have to go out and physically fire a weapon in-front of a qualified instructor to show they do know what they are doing,?? said Miller.
Safeguards are written into the conceal/carry law in each state to make sure firearms do not get into the wrong hands.
??We go through each and every one of them, and we check them. We do criminal histories on everyone and we go over that paperwork in detail,?? said Hardwick.
But as you go out in public, have you ever wondered who has a concealed weapon?
??I guess it makes you wonder how many of these people that come in and get permits are actually carrying them out in public, and we really have no way of knowing. But I guess it is something we think about,?? said Miller.
What would disqualify and applicant from getting a concealed weapons/carry permit?
Chief Deputy Miller says that they look at a range of factors. Convicted felons and those convicted of domestic violence would likely be denied.
Sheriff Hardwick says he looks at the same factors. He also will call the court to learn the final disposition of certain cases.
The process with both agencies is very detailed, and they leave no stone unturned before issuing a concealed weapons/carry permit.
For more information on how to apply for a permit in Adair County, click here .
For more information on how to apply for a permit in Wapello County, click here .