ST. PAUL — Minnesota sheriffs have issued a record number of permits to people who want to carry handguns in public, with 31,657 permits granted in 2012.
That’s a near 50 percent spike from recent years. In 2011, there were just shy of 21,000 five-year permits issued.
An annual report by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that tallies the permit data was released Friday. It includes a county-by-county breakdown of permit holders.
Permits to carry a handgun were up in most Mankato area counties for 2012, compared to one year earlier.
Blue Earth County permits were up 30 percent from total permits of 755 in 2011 to 981 in 2012.
Brown County permits went from 285 to 259, though 86 were pending. If the vast majority of the pending were approved — the most likely case — the gain would be about 20 percent.
Faribault County valid permits went from 251 in 2011 to 323 in 2012, a gain of 28 percent.
Le Sueur County permits went form 439 to 550, a gain of 25 percent.
Nicollet County valid permits were 358 in 2011 and 439 in 2012, a gain of 23 percent.
Martin County permits went from 254 to 345, a gain of 36 percent.
Sibley County permits went from 265 to 328, a gain of 24 percent. Waseca County permits went from 250 to 294, a 17 percent gain and Watonwan County permits went from 176 to 214, a gain of 22 percent.
Total valid permits statewide were 114,793 at the end of 2012, a gain of about 26 percent.
Last year, there were 33,816 requests for permits. Fewer than 300 were denied and roughly 1,800 applications were pending when the report was produced.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.