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Tue May 14, 2013
State Sees Spike, Some Backlog, In Gun Permitting
State officials are dealing with a new wave of paperwork as they work to implement new gun laws. As WNPR's Jeff Cohen reports, residents who want permits and background checks may have a longer wait than usual. Before the December Newtown shootings, the state would typically have between 800 and 1,400 pending pistol permits to process each month. Since Newtown, it's had more than 3,500 a month. And now, the number is up to 4,600. Mike Lawlor is Governor Dannel Malloy's undersecretary for criminal justice. He says that, after the shootings that left 20 children and six educators dead, the demand for guns and permits spiked. As a result, people who want new pistol permits or background checks may have to wait a little longer than normal. "People who are applying for permits, the wait time to finally get it in your hands is probably going to be extended a few weeks, just because of the sheer volume at the moment. But we anticipate that over the next few months, all of these things will level out." The state says there's also a dramatic backlog in the number of gun transfer registrations that have to be processed at the state. In December, there were 1,000; now there are about 62,000 approved registrations waiting for data entry. But Lawlor says that backlog won't have any noticeable effect on state residents. And as for the backlog for pistol permits and background checks, he says the state is looking to hire as many as 50 more civilians soon to help process the paperwork. "There is a wave moving through. There's no question about that. And we anticipate that, once we get them the additional civilian staff that they need to process all of these things, that will disappear." But there's one thing to keep in mind -- the state hasn't even issued the paperwork needed for people who will, under the state's new gun laws, have to register their assault weapons and high capacity magazines. For WNPR, I'm Jeff Cohen.