PORTLAND (AP) — Maine state police have cleared a backlog of concealed weapons permits, issuing a total of 11,000 of them.

Gov. Paul LePage said Friday that there was a backlog of 5,000 requests that were cleared by the Maine State Police Special Investigations Unit within the Maine Department of Public Safety. Last year, the unit issued more than 11,000 permits — an increase of 3,500 permits from the 7,500 issued in 2012.

That doesn’t include permits issued through municipalities. Maine State Police are in charge of issuing permits in towns with no municipal police departments, and to out-of-state residents.

LePage, himself the holder of a concealed weapons permit, thanked state police for improving the permitting process. He also said Maine is a safe state, “and we plan to keep it that way.”

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