Department spokesman Warren Strain says December of 2012 saw the largest spike in the last five years, with 1,747 applications.
Over the past five years, department figures show 38,000 concealed weapon permits applications have been filed.
Permit holders must reapply for a permit every five years. Security guards must apply every four years.
There is also an endorsement certification that requires an eight-hour gun safety course, allowing handgun owners to carry a weapon into public buildings, churches and malls.