SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) -

Government records show that more than twice as many concealed carry permits were issued in New Mexico last year when state and federal policymakers considered whether to tighten firearms laws.

The Department of Public Safety issued 10,601 licenses in 2013 compared with 4,793 the previous year, according to state records obtained by The Associated Press.

The state issued an average of about 4,500 licenses annually from 2008 to 2012.

Firearms instructors attribute last year's license increase partly to a push by the Legislature and Congress for new gun laws, including stricter criminal background checks on people who buy firearms and proposals to ban military-style assault weapons.

New Mexico allows concealed handgun permits for residents who are 21 or older and complete a firearms training course and a criminal background check.