Kansas is on track to process more than twice as many concealed-carry license applications as it did last year, and Sedgwick County is on pace to hit 5,000 applications this year.
The state had taken 22,124 applications through the first 10 months of the fiscal year, which started in July. Kansas residents submitted 12,408 applications in fiscal year 2012.
In July 2012, Kansans submitted 1,078 applications, records show. In March, the state took a record 4,071, and in April, 3,462.
Darras Delamaide, a longtime Wichita Police Department lieutenant now retired, teaches the eight-hour class the state requires to apply for a concealed-carry license.
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“I had a real busy spring,” he said. “I think there’s more than one factor. But politics in Washington is a key one.”
Calls for increased gun control led some of his clients to apply for a permit, he said.
“Most people I teach understand that increased gun control does not translate into reducing gun crime. If you take guns away from honest folks, the criminals will still keep their guns,” Delamaide said. “Certainly incidents like the Newtown shootings and the bombing in Boston make people aware that they’re responsible for their own safety.”
Last year, the county accepted 3,289 applications. Through May 1, it had taken 2,552, said Sedgwick County sheriff’s Lt. David Mattingly.
“It looks like we’re on track for 5,000 (this year),” Mattingly said. “Four months out of the year, and we’re already at more than 2,500. I think it’s reachable.”
Donnie Holman, manager of the Bullet Stop, said classes there have been full.
The Bullet Stop, which has a gun range, has to limit classes to 10 people because of space issues, but Holman said a training facility will open soon that will accommodate 35 to 40 people at a time.
Increased demand for concealed-carry permits meant the state struggled earlier this year to process applications within the 90 days required by law.
The Kansas attorney general’s office has hired more staff since last fall and temporarily reassigned workers “to assist in processing the sharp increase in applications,” said Don Brown, a spokesman for the office. The office more than doubled the number of people assigned to process applications, he said.
Applications now are being processed in 88 days or less, Brown said.
Although April’s numbers were down slightly from the record month of March, April “is still the third-highest month since the concealed-carry licensing program began in 2007. It represents a 140 percent increase from the 1,442 permit applications that were received in April 2012,” he noted in an e-mail.
Sedgwick County residents who want a concealed-carry license must apply for one through the Sheriff’s Office. That’s how it works across the state: Applicants make their license request in the county in which they reside. In Sedgwick County, applications are taken at the Sheriff’s Office’s offender registration unit at 3803 E. Harry, Suite 119, in Wichita.
In 2010, the Sheriff’s Office took 1,636 applications. By 2011, that number had grown to 2,105.
During the first three months of 2012, revenue to the county from application fees was $30,715, chief financial officer Chris Chronis said in an e-mail. During the first quarter of this year, that number had more than doubled to $65,184.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Tracy Spreier said the county took in $106,898 last year in application fees and had deposited $82,942 through May 1 of this year.
People who apply for a concealed-carry license must bring two checks to the Sheriff’s Office — one to the Sheriff’s Office for $32.50 for the cost of fingerprinting and processing and one for $100 to the attorney general’s office, which issues licenses.
“The AG’s office determines if they get a permit,” Spreier said.
Not everyone does.
The attorney general’s office had denied 330 licenses from January 2007 to May 1, records show. Through May 1, it had issued 55,988 licenses since 2007.
To apply, residents must be 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card or reside in Kansas while serving on active military duty.
Applicants must complete an eight-hour weapons safety and training class from a certified trainer. Part of the process includes submitting a passport-style color photograph and being fingerprinted.
The state denies licenses to people who are fugitives; convicted of or accused of certain crimes; subject to a court order restraining the applicant from harassing, stalking or threatening a child, partner, or child of a partner; have been dishonorably discharged from the military; or are illegal or renounced citizens. People who have an adjudicated mental defect or have been committed to a mental institution also can’t have a license.
A complete list of disqualifying factors is online at www.ag.ks.gov/public-safety/concealedcarry. Click on the “Concealed Carry” brochure.
Spreier said talk of tighter gun laws may have led to an increase in applications.
“It seems to be that’s really when we picked up,” Spreier said. “January up through mid-April, they were up.”