Gun purchases, permit applications increase in Augusta

Saturday, Dec. 29, 2012 7:43 PM
Last updated Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012 2:02 AM
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Buddy Lichty estimates that his business has seen as many gun sales in the past 15 days as it did in all of June and July.

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Jesse Pokrzywinski fires rounds at a target at Shooters, an indoor shooting range in Augusta.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Jesse Pokrzywinski fires rounds at a target at Shooters, an indoor shooting range in Augusta.


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“There’s no end in sight that we can see,” said Lichty, the owner of Shooters gun shop and indoor range on Patriots Way in Augusta.

On Thursday the gun range swarmed with people waiting for a chance to shoot their weapons. Store manager Steve Fryant said there has been a waiting list for shooters since before Christmas and the crowd hasn’t dwindled.

“We’ve been absolutely swamped,” Fryant said.

Richmond County’s Probate Court has also been busy. According to clerks, 40 applications were submitted Wednesday to the concealed weapons permit department. Usually it falls between 10 and 15 daily.

Although applications always increase around Christmas, employees said it’s never this high.

Lichty said fear is driving interest – fear that a change in federal laws concerning guns might be coming, sparked by this month’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, and fear of being unable to protect oneself when necessary.

Teddy Olson brought with him a female friend to shoot at the range Thursday.

“I’m a little old lady, but I’m not going to be a little old lady victim,” the 68-year-old woman said.

After a few run-ins with people in her neighborhood who were on drugs, Olson said the woman decided to start carrying a gun. She now carries a concealed weapon and warns others that she is armed.

A sign in her front yard reads: “Nothing in this house is worth dying for.”

Edward Batey, a qualified Air Force small arms instructor, said he has seen a renewed interest in firearms instruction since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and six adults were killed.

Batey said he isn’t sure what the answer is to preventing such tragedies, but he said he does not believe it’s taking guns away from the public.

“They shouldn’t blame people who carry guns; blame the criminal,” he said.

For Leslie Polatty, the Sandy Hook shooting is on her mind every day as she goes to work teaching elementary school children.

Polatty, of Evans, practiced target shooting at Shooters with her family Thursday. After some time on the range she said she felt more comfortable with shooting a gun, and so did her daughter, Anna Kelley Chapman.

Although Polatty does not believe teachers should be armed, she said she would feel safer for herself and the children if there was a guard at school.

Polatty said a few of the children in her classroom have brought up the Sandy Hook shooting and have begun to ask why the school doors are locked now.

“It definitely makes you more aware,” she said.

Jesse Pokrzywinski, of Harlem, who was shopping for another gun Thursday, said he’s glad to see more gun interest from the public and hopes to see more respect for the weapons and the sport overall.

“I hope legal gun ownership explodes,” he said.


Richmond County applications for concealed weapons permits:

January 153

February 248

March 237

April 128

May 158

June 120

July 162

August 147

September 119

October 153

November 157

December * 214

* Through Friday

Note: Numbers include only the number of applications received, not the number of permits granted.

Source: Richmond County Probate Court

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OpenCurtain 12/30/12 - 12:33 am
sales up permits up

traceability way up.

GA is open carry state last time I bother to check.

If people are so worried about a Gun ban confiscation ... WHY use all the official processes that 100% traceable?

Private purchases are still legal.

OpenCurtain 12/30/12 - 12:46 am
Thomson gun store sells way up

the dealer said over 800 gun sales since re-election.

Lots of People are worried,very worried and very distrustful of wash dc.

Augusta resident
Augusta resident 12/30/12 - 01:51 am

You don't need a permit or new gun to protect yourself, but it is good for the economy. All they did was create a buyers frinzy. Is Shooters bragging or complaining? When is the range in N. Augusta going to open? I see the sign on 25 across from SRP but havn't seen the range yet.

toldyaso 12/30/12 - 10:20 am
Open carry and CWL"s

I am pleased to see the healthy interest into personal protection in this area, despite our own Deke "Bloomberg" Copenhaver's support for increased restrictions.
But, just to keep folks from having an issue with the local LEO's, in the state of Georgia you must have a CWL to carry a weapon open or concealed. In Georgia we have "licenses", not permits. The 2nd amendment is our permit, the license issued by the State is proof that we have completed a background check. For more info check out ;

Bulldog1 12/30/12 - 10:36 am
People have been reminded

I suspect that the recent tragedy and the ensuing public uproar has reminded us all that “when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.” The people who are now choosing to arm themselves have decided to take personal responsibility for the safety of themselves and those around them. None of us who choose to do this believe that we are the police. We do, however, understand that we are the one primarily responsible for all that we do and all that happens to us. We gratefully acknowledge the tremendous value of sworn police officers in helping to keep us from harm, but they cannot and should not be everywhere at once. Until they can reach and assist me, I am going to do all that I can to protect myself and those around me. Until those who would deny me that option have a change of philosophy, they will continue to be part of the problem that we must now deal with.

KSL 12/30/12 - 09:32 pm
It is a myth that we live in

It is a myth that we live in a more civilized society that the old wild west.

KSL 12/30/12 - 09:34 pm
One of the main problems is

One of the main problems is that the media is complicit with the anti-gun crowd in that they hardly ever publish information on how an armed good person stopped a bad guy. It doesn't fit their agenda.

Guntoter 2
Guntoter 2 12/31/12 - 09:42 am

Heeyy toldyaso thanks for posting this..yea this is a must read for anyone who has or thinking about going legal. I have been a legal Guntoter (hence the name) for years and things always change so we need to be aware.I wonder why South Carolina don't recognize Georgia? You can always get into North Augusta SC by crossing the 13th or 5th street bridge..for cheaper gas..wanna bet how many Ga permit carriers take that into consideration.

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