As some lawmakers call for stricter gun control laws amid a surge of deadly shootings in the news, many Ocean City residents are planning to buy weapons.
The Ocean City Police Department reports the following totals for firearms ID applications:
- 2013: 102
- 2012: 70
- 2011: 50
- 2010: 39
- 2009: 40
"Permits to buy handguns in New Jersey — which has some of the strictest firearms laws in the U.S. — increased by 67 percent through June compared with the same period in 2012, according to data provided by the State Police," the Wall Street Journal ("New Jersey Is Packing") reported in September 2013.
Ocean City Police Capt. Steve Ang attributes some of the increase to a fear that gun control laws will tighten — some people may want to purchase guns before the laws change. He also said that the number of female applicants has increased substantially.
In New Jersey, a Firearms Purchaser Identification Card (FPIC) is required to buy a handgun, a hunting rifle or any other firearm. Separate handgun permits are also required. With background checks and fingerprinting required, the application process can take as long as three to six months.
Ang said the department encourages any potential owner to complete a firearms safety course to learn how to handle and store guns.
The increase in gun ownership has not been accompanied by any increase in gun crimes in Ocean City.
While Ocean City police have confiscated illegal weapons in investigations, it has been several years since police have responded to an incident involving a loaded weapon, Ang said.