Glut of concealed handgun applications delays permits

Glut of concealed handgun applications delays permits
In this March 30, 2013 photo, Kim Sundquist, 39, follows instructions closely as she fires live rounds toward the end of a concealed weapons training course in Vale, Ore. If you're looking to start carrying a concealed handgun in far southeastern Oregon, be prepared to wait. There's been a rush to apply for concealed carry permits at the Malheur County sheriff's office. (AP Photo/Argus Observer, William Lopez)

VALE, Ore. (AP) — If you're looking to start carrying a concealed handgun in far southeastern Oregon, be prepared to wait.

There's been a rush to apply for concealed carry permits at the Malheur County sheriff's office. Sign-ups that used to be available on a this-week-or-next basis aren't available until June, the Ontario Argus Observer reported.

Last year, the sheriff's office processed 398 applications for permits. In the first three months of this year, it has already gotten 244 applications.

"Last year, I'd process maybe 10 to 15 applications a week," said Kim Fulwyler, the assistant who works on applications on Wednesdays and Thursdays. "This year, I'm doing at least 25 to 30 a week."

Officials in the sheriff's department and one of the firearms teachers it recommends to applicants said they can't pinpoint a cause for the increase, such as President Barack Obama's push for gun legislation or the aftermath of the shootings at Newtown, Conn.

They note a rising percentage of women among the applicants.

Pat Pollard, 71, was at a concealed carry class recently in preparation for submitting an application.

"I lost my husband five years ago, and I travel alone quite a bit to Seattle," she said. "I need to get more experience and just learn more about guns."

The sheriff's office conducts background checks and prints the cards. Applicants must demonstrate competence with a handgun. Most take a handgun safety course, although exemptions are given to people who have worked in jobs related to law enforcement or those who can show a record of military handgun training.

___

Information from: Argus Observer, http://www.argusobserver.com

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press