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95,000 Waiting on Gun Permits

February 19th, 2009 by flanews

As the economy softens the state is being bombarded with applications from people who want to carry a concealed firearm. 95,000 are still waiting on their permits. As Whitney Ray tells us, the rush to legally carry a weapon comes as food stamp and unemployment numbers skyrocket.

Hear it Here: 95,000 Waiting on Gun Permits

These 18 gallon tubs full of paper represent just a few of the 95-thousand weapon permit applications the state is struggling to process.

This is simply an explosion of applications, said Liz Compton, a spokeswoman with the Department of Agriculture.

Applications for conceal-carry permits began to skyrocket about a year ago. Then the day after the election, fears of stricter gun laws spawned a second wave. Now the threat of a souring economy turning violent is fueling the fire.

People are getting licenses to carry so they can protect themselves and their families, said NRA Spokeswoman Marion Hammer.

8.1 percent unemployment and a flood of food stamp applications are overburdening state employees. DCF Secretary George Sheldon said people are getting desperate. Sheldon wants to speed up the food stamp application process.

If somebodys hungry, theyre not planning to be hungry 30 days from now. Theyre hungry today, said Sheldon.

DCF wants more money to keep up with the demand for food stamps, which could keep people from getting desperate. The Department of Agriculture will use money from a conceal-carry trust fund to handle its backlog.

There is a slight bright side to all the increases. Pawnshops and gun stores are seeing a spike in sales and the state is creating jobs to handle the licensing and food stamp applications.

The Department of Agriculture is taking applications to hire 61 temporary workers to help with the backlog. DCF hopes to use federal stimulus and state dollars to create 288 positions.

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