The number of firearms sold so far in 2020 has likely already surpassed the total purchased in all of 2019, and with handguns outpacing long guns by a nearly two-to-one margin officials in states that require a permit to purchase a revolver or pistol are inundated by applications. North Carolina is among those states and the Wake County—which includes Raleigh—Sheriff’s office told the News and Observer for the period between May 3 to Aug. 15, it received five times more applications than it did the during the same period in 2019.
Lt. Scott Sefton reassured reporters at a news conference that, “We are working diligently and as fast as we can to get those permits out to every individual who qualifies.”
Extra staff is now assigned to the processing. By this time in 2019 the department had issued 9,632 handgun permits. So far this year, 25,180 have been approved.
It’s much the same in Guilford County, home to Greensboro, NC. NBC TV-affiliate WXII reports handgun permit applications are up 249.8 percent. In Charlotte’s Mecklenburg County, a WCNC TV indicated that the sheriff’s office “…has received more than 24,000 applications since March compared to roughly 7,000 during the same period last year.”
The situation isn’t exclusive to North Carolina, either. To answer the demand, New York’s Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office recently expanded the hours available for people seeking to secure or modify their pistol permits.
In Rhode Island Cranston Police Chief Col. Michael Winquist told reporters that his department is still able to process applications within a seven-day period, although applications are up significantly. As of June, his staff had received the same number this year as were submitted all of 2019.
An Indianapolis Star story put that state’s demand in perspective.
“New applications for handgun permits in Indiana have increased 10 times over their 2019 levels since lawmakers eliminated the fees for a five-year permit on July 1, according to the Indiana State Police,” the article reported.