Jefferson County sees spike in pistol permit applications

Published: Oct. 27, 2021 at 4:30 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - They say they’re stressed and overwhelmed. Staff at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office have their plates full with a spike in pistol permit applications this year.

Stacks of paperwork pile up at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. It’s all part of the pistol permit process.

“This year, we have seen record numbers of applications,” said Sergeant Paige Taylor, supervisor of the detective unit.

The department has already received just north of 775 in 2021 - nearly 300 more than all of last year and almost 3 times as many as the number of applications received in 2019.

Sergeant Taylor reviews them all before they go to the sheriff. She says work for just one permit can take her understaffed team hours. That’s on top of their typical criminal case work.

“My detectives are stressed. They are overwhelmed,” she said.

Before you can even apply for your pistol permit through the sheriff’s department, there’s a class you have to take. A firearms shop in the town of Leray teaches it and the manager there says the courses are filling up consistently.

“There’s a lot of times we get five, six, seven, eight a week,” said Joe Johnson, manager, Armageddon Arsenal Supply.

He says each class has at least 5 people in it. While he sells rifles, Johnson’s shop is working toward selling pistols too and he knows customers want them.

“It’s daily - people looking for pistols themselves, or holsters or all these different things. But the demand is definitely there. If it’s not people walking through the door, it’s people calling,” said Johnson.

Taylor says the sheriff’s department usually sees a spike in pistol permit applications around big elections and it could have received more than 1,000 in 2020, but stopped taking them for part of year due to the pandemic.

She says that’s a reason why more people are applying now.

“I would say it’s a rebound, overflow, of the restrictions that 2020 brought to everybody,” she said.

Taylor says it’s possible the sheriff’s office will get more than 900 applications by the end of the year.

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