County facing backlog of gun permits

County facing backlog of gun permits
June 22
05:00 2017

Forsyth County is working to meet the high demand for gun permits that’s causing residents to wait months to receive them.

The Sheriff’s Office has seen a large increase in applications for Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) Permits and Pistol Purchase Permits. Firearm permit applications rose form 5,404 in 2010 to around 12,935 in 2013 with about 10,000 applications in fiscal year 2016. State laws only allow 14 days to process a permit, so the Sheriff’s Office has residents schedule appointments for when they can get their application processed. In March 2017, the Sheriff’s Office was five months behind on CCW permits with 1,170 residents waiting and four months behind on pistol permits with 847 residents waiting.

“There’s a demand,” Chief Deputy Brad Stanley told county commissioners at a meeting last week.

The wait times have shortened some, with the earliest appointment currently available now being in late September. Stanley told county commissioners that this was partly due to temporary workers who are helping Sheriff’s employees with the applications. The county originally allocated $50,000 for temporary service. Commissioners will be voting in their next business meeting on June 26 for a new contract for $62,400 with Express Service to keep the service going.

Commissioners said that they were glad the issue is being addressed.

“This has been a problem that’s made a lot of people angry,” said Commissioner Vice Chairman Don Martin.

Gloria Whisenhunt said she’d gotten many calls from those unhappy with the wait.

“I received as many phone calls about this as I do dogs, and that’s a lot,” she said.

“Folks are really upset they cannot get their permits.“

Another added strain is that the Permit Unit is also responsible for fingerprinting and background checks. Required fingerprinting by state law now includes fire, emergency medical services (EMS) and medical personal. This has caused general fingerprinted cases to jump from  1,439 in fiscal year 2015 to 3,350 in 2016, a 132.8 percent increase.

The Sheriff Office started using a part-time temporary employee from Express Solutions in November 2015. Those hours were increased to full time in 2016 and by April 2017, the office started using two temporary positions. This brings the total of employees processing permits and fingerprints to seven.

Stanley said there continues to be a jump in gun permits whenever events like mass shootings happen.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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