From December 2012 through June 2013, the Indiana State Police received 91,940 applications for handgun licenses, compared to 62,934 applications for all of 2012.
The significant surge has led the Indiana State Police, the agency entrusted to oversee the permit system, to add staff and streamline the application process.
In the past, the agency received about 5,200 handgun permit requests per month, but in January applications shot up to 23,000, Capt. David Bursten said in a statement last week.
"The level of demand has marginally decreased," Bursten said. "However, the overall monthly increase has led to a substantial backlog in applications, pushing processing time to more than 110 days."
In an effort to decrease processing time, the agency is encouraging all applicants to submit applications and fingerprints electronically. Applications already are required to be submitted electronically, but an option allows fingerprints, which are either hand-rolled or scanned onto paper or print cards, to be emailed to the state.
Applications submitted with hand-rolled or scanned fingerprints take about two weeks longer to process than electronically transferred prints, Bursten said.
Indiana currently enjoys some of the least-restrictive handgun-carry laws in the country. During the last legislative session, Hoosier lawmakers approved a measure permitting employees to have handguns inside their locked vehicles at the workplace, and another prohibiting cities and municipalities to place local restrictions on the legal possession of firearms for personal protection.
As of July 1, Indiana had 493,205 active handgun licenses, with 80 percent held by men and 20 percent by women.