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'Conceal and Carry' Permits Surge in Bibb, Houston | News

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'Conceal and Carry' Permits Surge in Bibb, Houston
News

STORY HIGHLIGHTS 

  • Bibb County "conceal and carry" applications jumped from 85 in November 2012 to 227 in December 2012 
  • In December 2012, Houston County applications rose to 563, up from 181 in December 2011
  • As of January 15, 155 applications have been made this year in Bibb County

The number of "conceal and carry" applications has almost tripled in Bibb and Houston Counties since the mass shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead at a Newtown, Conn. elementary school one month ago.

By The Numbers

In December 2012, the applications in Bibb County doubled compared to the same month in 2011 and almost tripled compared to November 2012.

According to probate court records, 227 applications were made in December 2012 and 104 applications in December 2011.

Judge Sarah Harris says the probate court received 85 applications in November of 2012 -- a number she described as more "normal."

As of Tuesday, January 15, the probate court already received 155 applications for conceal and carry permits. There are 11 business days left for the probate court in January.

The numbers repeat a similar pattern in Houston County, where Probate Judge Janices Spires reports firearms permits more than tripled.

In Decebmer 2011, her court processed 181 applications. A year later, 563 applications crossed her desk. As of January 14, Judge Spires says the Houston County Probate Court has recieved 368 firemarms applications.

On the probate court's website in Houston County, an alert is posted warning applicants of the high volume. 

It reads, "Due to an unprecedented increase in the application of weapons carry permits, the Houston County Probate Court is asking for your cooperation the the application process." The court's goal is to process 40 applications each business day.

The Cause

In Bibb County, Judge Harris says long-time probate court clerks tell her spikes such as this one are fairly common after mass shootings or when talk of gun control measures gains traction in the nation's capitol. 

At the last press conference of his first term, President Barack Obama indicated he will make public his choices for gun control measures this week.

The spike in permit applications has led sometimes to "two hour waits," according to Judge Harris. She says at times she's had to divert other probate court staff to the marriage and firearms office.

When asked if it was because more people were getting married, the judge replied, "No. It's definitely not for marriages."

Judge Spires in Houston County would not comment on the reason she feels the number of gun permits have soared.

The License

Georgia law says any person who wants to store a firearm may do so without a license only on his or her property, such as a car or home. To carry the weapon outside of personal property, a person must obtain a firearms license, though if an individual carries a weapon for hunting or sporting, that firearm may be carried off personal property.

County probate courts handle all requests in Georgia for firearms licenses.

The current rules state a person must be 21 to apply for a 'conceal and carry' permit. Other requirements include a photo ID, no probation and submitting to a background check.

These rules apply in all counties across the state.

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