(AP) — The national gun-control debate sparked by December's deadly
Connecticut school shooting is spurring a surge of applications in Indiana
for gun permits, with State Police seeing three times the number of such
requests the agency handled a year ago.
Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana State Police have been getting up
to 4,000 permit requests each week — triple the volume of a year ago. That
surge has created a backlog of unprocessed permits and longer waits for
Capt. Dave Bursten said it's now taking 15 weeks to get one permit request
processed, a time that's nearly doubled the average wait time.
"When we had
our traditional number in a normal year, we were running in the area of
eight or nine weeks if you had a traditional fingerprinting, a little
under five weeks if it's an electronic fingerprint," he said.
departments, meanwhile, are getting bogged down with inspections,
fingerprinting and background checks needed for each permit application.
application must be reviewed and either approved or rejected by the local
police chief, town marshal or county sheriff. State Police have the final
decision on approving and issuing the permits.
Chief Tim Green said the suburban Indianapolis city of 80,000 had 263 new
applications filed in the first five weeks of 2013, compared with 67
applications in the same period last year. Green said Carmel could surpass
1,000 new permits this year, nearly 200 more than in any previous year.
"Many of these
folks want the permit because they are afraid they will not have the
ability to get one in the future," Green said.
Indianapolis, the city's police department received more than 1,100
applications in December. That's 360 more than the department received in
increase in requests seems especially pronounced in the suburban and rural
areas surrounding Indianapolis.
police spokesman Matt Fillenwarth said the department just south of
Indianapolis processed 196 permits from November to January, compared with
47 during the same time a year earlier.
follows the national debate over gun violence and new gun restrictions
that began after a 20-year-old gunman fatally shot and killed 20 children
and six adult staff members Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in
the president started talking about gun control after the Sandy Hook
shooting, I mean we've seen a tenfold increase in the people that have
come in wanting to get gun permits," Fillenwarth said. "I think it's been
slowing down a little bit, but any time they talk about any type of gun
control, people freak out."
enforcement officials said the increase in permit applications illustrates
the confusion over Indiana's existing guns laws because most of the people
seeking the gun permits don't need them.
Indiana residents don't need to have a permit of any kind to own or use a
rifle or shotgun, or to own or keep a handgun in one's home.
permit is needed if gun owners intend to carry a handgun on their person
or in their vehicle.
resident Steven Cutler, 58, recently sought a permit because he wants to
carry his gun in his vehicle to shoot targets. He said he's motivated by
concerns about potential restrictions but also is concerned about his
personal safety in case he encounters unexpected dangers.
upcoming potential regulations and tightening of the laws, I thought it
would be a good idea to get some self-protection," Cutler said.