NEWTOWN, Conn. (CBS Connecticut/AP) — The number of pistol permit applications in Newtown soared following last December’s massacre at Sandy Hooky Elementary School that left 26 dead, including 20 children.

The Hartford Courant reports that applications rose by 110 percent from the same five-month period last year as Newtown residents applied for 183 pistol permits from January through May. Last year, only 87 applied for permits in the same time frame.

Through October, residents applied for 253 permits, with only three not being approved by the Newtown police chief. Through 2011 and 2012 combined, applications totaled 271.

Newtown officials believe the school tragedy and the state’s stricter gun control laws played a role in the increase of permits.

“Many people expressed their concerns even before the shooting that gun laws were going to change and there would be tighter restrictions on getting a gun permit,” Robert Berkins, manager of the Newtown police records, told the Courant.

Connecticut also saw a 78 percent increase as state police issued 18,233 permits between March and September.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Tuesday that an additional 435 schools across Connecticut will receive state funding to improve school security as $16 million will be spent to reimburse 75 school districts for a portion of security improvements. Back in September, the state awarded $5 million to help pay for upgrades at 169 schools in 36 districts, for a total of $21 million, as part of the School Security Grant Program approved by the General Assembly.

“This allows us to continue to get resources out to cities and towns that have begun work to modernize their security infrastructure and ramp up safety procedures at school buildings in the wake of the horrific events on Dec. 14,” said Malloy, referring to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first graders and six educators dead.

The awards were based on a school security assessment conducted by each local school district that applied for the state funding. Each participating city and town will be reimbursed between 20 and 80 percent, taking into account a municipality’s amount of taxable property and overall number of need-based students.

The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, which is administering the grant program with help from other agencies, has received applications for projects including the installation of surveillance cameras, buzzer and card entry systems, panic alarms, bullet-proof glass and electric locks.

Malloy’s office said a future round of funding will be announced soon.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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