Applications for concealed-carry permits are soaring in several states where permit requirements have been eased, driven in part by the talk of new gun contol laws in response to recent mass shootings, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.
The Journal found that 537,000 concealed-carry permits were issued last year in a dozen states the newspaper surveyed, including Texas, Utah and Wisconsin -- an 18 percent increase over the previous year.
About 8 million Americans held concealed-carry permits last year, according to the Government Accountability Office, which called the figure a "conservative estimate."
Figures for 2013 may surpass those prior totals. Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming and Nebraska have almost matched or already surpassed the total of permits issued last year in the first half of 2013 alone, according to the Journal.