More and more people across the state and county are seeking concealed carry permits, a rise gun safety instructors attribute partly to national politics and diversification of gun ownership in recent years.

Nearly 3,000 concealed carry permits were active in Doña Ana County in June, up 50 percent from June 2012, six months before the gun control debate returned to the national stage. Statewide, more than 33,500 permits were active in June, up 42 percent from 2012.

A concealed carry permit allows a license holder to carry a concealed, loaded handgun into most public and private establishments unless certain legal notices are posted. Permit holders must complete a 15-hour firearms safety course. New Mexico law does not require residents to have a permit to openly carry a loaded handgun.

About 1.5 million people across the state and 150,500 in Doña Ana County are age 20 or older and about 2 percent holds active concealed carry permits, according to the Department of Public Safety.

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