BELLEVUE -- On average, Washington's Department of Licensing sees anywhere from five to eight thousand concealed pistol licenses replaced, renewed, or requested for the first time. In March, it saw 12,000 licenses -- a number they haven't seen in years.
In Washington , you don't need a permit to have a loaded gun in your home. However, if you carry it outside of the home concealed, or in your car, you need a concealed pistol license.
Gun rights advocate Dave Workman says the number of gun owners in Washington who have concealed pistol licenses is 358,335. The DOL says it can't remember the last time the number was that high. Workman believes there are several reasons.
"Cutbacks in law enforcement across the state has people worried about protection." He says many feel like they now must protect themselves.
Gun owners we talked to say they think it's also because of crime. Mark Roedell tells us there have been a lot of home invasions in the news lately.
"People are hearing about the violence and they're nervous," says Roedell. In the past week, in both Puyallup and North Bend, home intruders were shot and killed.
Wade's Gun Shop in Bellevue says not only is the number of licenses up, so are their sales. The shop has seen a 25 percent increase in gun sales over the past quarter compared to the same time last year.
Of course it's impossible to know all the reasons, but gun advocates believe the upcoming election may also be a factor in the increase. Wade's Gun Shop says they don't expect the rise in sales to stop anytime soon.