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Guilford County Sheriff’s Office seeing spike in calls about gun laws, permit applications

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- Gun permit questions and complaints in Guilford County over the last five weeks have not been out of this world -- like the demand for Star Wars tickets -- but interest is in a realm far from what the sheriff’s office had seen prior to a change in the law that went into effect Dec. 1.

And now President Obama’s executive order announced Tuesday has taken those calls into the Guilford County Sheriff’s Office into lightspeed.

“It’s caused a surge. People are concerned they won't be able to get a pistol permit so it’s creating a lot of additional calls,” said Sheriff B.J. Barnes, who said the call volume is up 50 percent over normal. “They're confused. They want to make sure they can still get a pistol permit.”

To be clear, the president’s actions meant to close the “gun show” loophole by requiring permits for all person to person sales of firearms won’t change the process that people go through at any sheriff’s office in North Carolina. Staffing however is not able to keep up with the volume of interest in the subject.

“I have five folks who have the responsibility of 500,000 people in the county,” said Barnes.

The spike in questions and calls comes after a new requirement that forces applicants to get their gun permit applications notarized before they can become official.

One applicant said the whole process took about 15 days and she didn’t feel pressured by or bothered by the notarization process. She also said she’s saw plenty of people like her going through the process.

Barnes hopes the call volume will slow down. He’s hoping the public will utilize the county’s website where most questions about the gun permit process can be answered.

If not, it will be the staff taking those calls and juggling applicants who show up to complete the work at the same time.

“That person who is waiting on them may have interrupt what they're doing to take a phone call concerning pistol permits and what they don't understand from the confusion of what's going on,” said Barnes.