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Computer glitch halts state's concealed-weapons permit process

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Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, 2:56 p.m.

Lines have snaked through the basement of the Westmoreland County Courthouse for weeks as people waited to obtain licenses to carry concealed weapons.

The rush came to an abrupt halt on Tuesday because of a glitch in the state computer system that handles licensing.

On average, more than 2,000 people obtained concealed-carry permits every weekday in January in the state, but none could this week because of the glitch, state police spokeswoman Maria Finn said.

Applicants can fill out paperwork, and authorities can conduct instant background checks, but Finn said sheriff's departments can't upload photographs and other data or issue licenses.

“It's a problem with the database, and it's basically something that's technical. We don't know when it will be fixed,” Finn said.

In Westmoreland County, where the sheriff's department issued up to 100 permits a day this month, people went home empty-handed.

“People are pretty irate about it,” said Sheriff Jonathan Held.

Fayette County applicants were told to leave completed paperwork with the sheriff's office and to expect a phone call when the system is restored.

Allegheny County officials told applicants when they could return to the courthouse to pick up licenses, Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Rizzo said.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or

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