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Pistol-permit backlog giving applicants headaches

As quickly as the state and federal governments rush to pass gun control laws, people are out trying to buy firearms.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - As quickly as the state and federal governments rush to pass gun control laws, people are out trying to buy firearms.

Anyone looking for a permit in Onondaga County though is hitting a snag. Lately, there has been a line at the pistol permit window at the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office. But the length of the line isn’t the most surprising part of the process for applicants. Their surprise is coming when they’re told about the delay in receiving their permit.

The office is short-staffed and lacks an updated computer system.

"They need to get more associates to facilitate the needs, because 13 months from now that's just not acceptable,” said George Giouroukos, who applied for a permit earlier this week.

The office has had more people lining up in the last few weeks, but the backlog began growing some time ago.

Onondaga County Sheriff Kevin Walsh said that in the 1990s there were three people dedicated to permits, but budget cuts have reduced the staff to one.

Processing a gun permit is labor intensive, but office efficiency should be improved with an upgraded computer system, according to the Sheriff.

"They want to get it now, while they think they still can. I don't see them being prohibited down the road, so the great rush to get it done today isn't going to make an awful lot of difference,” Walsh said.

The Sheriff said that the new computer system will not be installed for several weeks.

Until the process is streamlined, applicants can expect more than a year before they can return with their application and then another few months before a decision is made to grant a permit or not.

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