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Nationally, people have been applying for concealed pistol licenses at unprecedented rates. Experts say fear of gun legislation and some violent national events are likely factors.

The Washington State Department of Licensing released figures on concealed pistol licenses permits by county.

INTERACTIVE:Washington Map showing CPL rates by county

Lincoln County encompasses 2,300 square miles and is home to around 10,500 people. It is here that the most people per capita in the state hold concealed licenses.

Fifteen percent of residents have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Probably a larger percentage of people own a firearm of some sort, said Lincoln County Sheriff Wade Magers.

Magers estimated gun ownership could be as high as 75 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, King County has the lowest rate of concealed pistol licenses -- only four percent. But even its rate has climbed about one percent over the past year.

Mike Gaffney, a social science researcher at Washington State University, said he was surprised by the wide variation in CPL rates in counties across the state.

But, Gaffney added, there seems to be a correlation between population density and percentage of CPLs in a county.

There are 16 counties with rates above eight percent and 13 are relatively rural.

Gaffney thought other factors, such as crime rate and political beliefs, might also influence where people apply for a concealed permit. But there weren't clear relationships between those factors.

Ultimately, each individual who applies has their own reasons for wanting to carry a concealed weapon.

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