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OUR findings

The State newspaper analyzed gun trends in South Carolina by researching concealed weapons permits, hunting licenses and FBI background checks done for firearms sales. The paper found:

- More than 28,000 concealed weapons permits have been issued in the first 10 months of 2009. That's nearly double the number issued in 2008 and an all-time high.

- The combined sales from five types of resident hunting licenses were 155,591 in 2008, a 9 percent decline from 1999.

- The FBI conducted background checks for 65,954 rifle and shotgun purchases in 2008, an 18 percent decline from 1999.

- The FBI conducted 70,257 background checks for handgun purchases in 2008, a 90 percent increase from 2003.

- Many concealed weapons permit holders in South Carolina say they are afraid of crime. But only one of the state's 10 counties with the highest concentration of permit holders, Darlington, is also one of the state's most violent.