PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota's Secretary of State Jason Gant says he has seen a "significant increase" in the number of requests for permits to carry a concealed weapon in recent months.

Gant says more than 3,000 concealed pistol permits have been requested in the first 11 days of 2013.This far outpaces 2012's tally of about 18,000. In 2011, nearly 15,800 permits were requested.

Gant says the total number of active permits in the state as of Jan. 11 is more than 65,000.

The shooting last month at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school that left 26 dead has helped spark a national debate on gun control. This in turn has been cited as the reason behind a national surge in gun sales and concealed weapons permits.

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