GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The Guilford County Sheriff's Office is making major adjustments to keep up with an influx of concealed carry permit applications this year.
"It's been chaotic!" said Cathy Paul, one of two officers in Guilford County who keep up with gun permits specifically.
Concealed carry permits require certification from a safety course, an application, background check and medical records. The whole process can take about 90 days.
"We usually do the whole nine on our own," explained Paul. "But there's no way with the influx of the applications coming. We can't do everything on our own anymore."
Lutenant Randy Shepherd said Guilford County Sheriff's Office has brought in retired officers to help part-time with paperwork, doubled the number of appointments they take per hour from 5 to 10, and bought 8 new filing cabinets to hold their older records in a separate office area.
"That's really good. I'm glad to see an increase in it," said Jerri Munn. She had an appointment to get a concealed carry permit Friday.
"I feel it's very important this day and time to stay armed and aware and educated about self-protection," Munn explained.
Michael Silverman was also waiting to update his concealed carry permit with a new address. "There are times where I'd be at the train station say at midnight.. where I'm a lot more comfortable knowing that I was armed."
Silverman doesn't carry a gun at all times but makes sure he can legally do so if he chooses by renewing his permit.
They say discussions of gun control are making them uneasy.
"It's a second amendment right. I'm an American, and I'm glad we have these rights," added Munn.
Nicole Jeans wasn't surprised the number of permit applications are increasing. "People are trying to take advantage of our rights while we have them. All of our other rights are going away one at a time."
Even with the extra workload, Lt. Shepherd said more permits on the books are actually a relief.
"I think the more people we have who are law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits carrying them in the proper manner makes things safer for everyone," he said.
Please Note: These are only new applications. They do not include renewal applications. and are only concealed carry applications. Not pistol permit applications.
- Processed 3,520 new concealed carry permits in 2012.
- Processed 1,604 so far this year.
- Will process 4,445 in 2013 if the pace remains steady.
- Averaging about 80 more every month compared to last year.
- Have increased staff, acquired more storage space and doubled appointment times.
- Noticing more women and younger people applying.
Source: Lt. Randy Shepherd
- Processed 2,112 new concealed carry permits in 2012.
- Processed 1,522 so far this year.
- Have almost doubled their monthly averages this year compared to last.
- Have adjusted staff to accommodate workflow.
Source: Chief Deputy Brad Stanley
- Processed 2,007 new concealed carry permits in 2012.
- Processed 1,943 in first four months of 2013.
- Nearly hit last year's total in the first four months of this year.
- Have seen sharp and steady increase since 2008.
- Have adjusted and increased staff, allowed for overtime, extra shifts and Saturday work.
- Noticing older couples and women applying.
Source: Sheriff David Grice
- Processed at least 1,600 concealed carry permits so far this year
- Managing about 300% more than in previous years.
Source: Spokesman Randy Jones
- Running two weeks behind on processing concealed carried permits.
- Adjusting staff to accommodate 8-10 applications every day, which is significantly higher than previous years.
Source: Major Jeff Lemons