Computer glitches stall Westmoreland gun permit requests
By Renatta Signorini
Published: Tuesday, May 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Applications for concealed weapon permits so far this year in Westmoreland County are on pace to beat a record set in 2012, according to Sheriff Jon Held.
About 6,550 applications have been received through the first five months at Held's courthouse office, compared with 4,842 applications during the same period in 2012, Held said.
State officials hope $1.2 million in improvements to the Pennsylvania Instant Check computer system will eliminate delays in approving concealed weapon license applications that have occurred across the state.
The improvements are to be tested in June and implemented in October.
Applications for concealed weapons permits jumped significantly after the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre in which 20 children and six adults were killed on Dec. 14.
At the same time, the state's system routinely faced technical glitches, causing a backlog of applications.
Statewide, from January through April, the system received about 400,000 calls, compared with 1 million in all of 2012, said Capt. Scott Price, director of the state police operational records division in Harrisburg.
At that pace, Price said, the state is on its way to a record year.
Held said the computer system has been working well and the county's backlog has diminished.
In 2012, 12,600 applications for concealed weapons permits passed through the county office. Held said the county is on pace to process 16,000 applications in 2013.
Allegheny County has had a similar increase in applications.
From January to April 2012, the county issued 6,500 licenses. In the same time period this year, 8,751 licenses were issued, Sheriff William Mullen said.
He hired an extra staff member to help process applications, installed an additional phone line and allowed his staff to work overtime, all to address the backlog. While the department is chipping away at requests, hundreds more keep applying, Mullen said.
“We're overwhelmed. ... We're catching up. We should be caught up shortly,” Mullen said.
In Fayette County, applicants wait only about 20 minutes to receive a permit, said Security Officer Gerry Thomas, who works in the sheriff's firearms division.
Staff writer Christina Gallagher contributed. Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pastors offer help in days following Franklin Regional stabbings
- Murrysville woman shares her many tales as a professional storyteller
- Attorney wants lesser term for woman in Greensburg torture death
- North Versailles, Murrysville families still waiting for report on 2011 chopper crash that killed couple
- Community turns out for Franklin Regional students’ return to class
- Graziani hired away from Latrobe as Penn Township’s manager
- ‘We Are FR’ fund going strong
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- St. Vincent student killed in ‘unfortunate accident’ in Erie
- Easter egg hunt planned at Norvelt field
- City approves deal to supply Greater Latrobe with school resource officer