SIOUX FALLS - South Dakotans are getting permits to carry concealed weapons at a brisk pace as President Barack Obama and Congress debate gun control in the wake of the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant says 4,925 permits were issued in the first five weeks of the year. The Argus Leader newspaper reports that is more than a quarter of all the permits issued last year.

Gant says there also are more than 2,000 permit requests pending. He thinks the spike is a direct result of the push to tighten gun laws.

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