Gun sales booming, permit process backlogged - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Gun sales booming, permit process backlogged

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Jane Roberts stood at the gun counter at Burkemont Pawn and Trade in Morganton Thursday carefully looking at three different handguns. She was looking to buy one as soon as possible, she said, fearing there will come a time when she won't be allowed to.

"The law's gonna change," she said. "Obama and the others are going to see to it."

Roberts is one of many who feel changes are coming and now is the time to buy a firearm. At the Burke County Sheriff's Office, more than 800 applications for handgun permits have been filed since September.

The application gives authorities the go ahead to check the background of applicants. The sheriff's records are checked, then the Clerk of Court records, then the state data base is checked.

"The person has to meet all the criteria before he or she is given a permit," said Burke County Sheriff Steve Whisenant.

Felonies and certain misdemeanor convictions can result in denial of a permit. Those seeking to purchase long rifles and shotguns go through a background check initiated by the gun seller.

With so many applications to deal with what used to be a one or two day turnaround to complete the background check process has now stretched into several days and longer. "The entire system is backlogged," said Whisenant.

Every county contacted by WBTV News said near record number of applications have come in there too.

Officials say there is no way to tell when the buying frenzy will let up. "It depends on what happens in Washington," said one buyer at the pawn shop Thursday.

Jane Roberts says she is not going to wait and see what happens. Just after lunch she went home to get her permit with plans to purchase at least one new handgun in the afternoon.

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