Feedback: Gun Law Causes Pistol Permit Backlog

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Since New York's new gun control law was adopted, St. Lawrence County Clerk Mary Lou Rupp says the number of people seeking pistol permits has skyrocketed.

"It has been a struggle to keep up. Our staff has really done an amazing job, but it has meant extra comp time and, as far as office expense, it's been huge," said Rupp.
 
There are more than 17,000 people in the county with pistol permits.

About 3,800 of them have signed opt-out forms to keep their personal information private.
 
The high demand for handgun permits is putting a strain on the Sheriff's Office and its deputies, who do a majority of the required fingerprinting and background checks on each applicant before any decision is made.

In just one month, from March to April, deputies handled 82 applications alone and the rising number of applications is creating even more of a backlog.

That means applicants will face longer waiting periods.

"What used to be a three-month turnaround for an application for our portion of the process, it may be a six-month waiting period for the applicant is going to turn into maybe a year-long wait on our end and maybe a 15 or 16 or 18 month wait for the process," said Undersheriff Scott Bonno.
 
Deputies are having to fit the background investigations into their normal law enforcement duties, which include road patrols, handling criminal complaints and a high number of inmate transports to county and local courts as well as to state prisons upon conviction.
 
Meanwhile, the county clerk says the new gun law has also made it more expensive for her office to operate when you factor in the cost of staff, processing related paperwork and office supplies.                                  
 
The New York County Clerk Association wants the state to start covering the extra costs of the gun paperwork or at least reimburse counties for the extra work the gun law has caused.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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