Eden Prairie last year experienced a huge jump in firearm permits, similar to what was seen in Minnesota and nationwide.
The Eden Prairie Police Department processed 1,029 applications for permission to purchase a firearm, which was more than the total numbers in 2018 and ’19 combined. In 2019, the department processed 311 permit applications; in 2018 the number was 340.
Residents who receive the city permit typically also apply to Hennepin County for a permit to carry a handgun, and last year Hennepin was Minnesota’s top county for permits issued, with 11,346.
Statewide in 2020, the handgun carry permits established a record: 96,554 permits compared to 51,404 permits the year before, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported March 1.
Likewise, the FBI last year conducted a record 39 million background checks for firearm sales nationally.
Political discord and civil unrest were likely factors in the firearm-permit increase, said Sgt. Eric LeBlanc of the Eden Prairie Police. That would include the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police on May 25 and the protests and property damage that followed.
“I think that got a lot of people scared, concerned, worried,” he said.
City permits to purchase firearms are issued after the police check an applicant’s criminal background and determine if the applicant has ever been committed, in a civil manner, for chemical dependency or psychological issues. Decisions are usually made in about one week, said LeBlanc, unless there are out-of-state records to examine. The permits are not required for rifles or shotguns that are used for hunting.