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Gun carry permit applications rise sharply

By Kay S. Pedrotti Gun permits issued by the office of the Lamar County probate judge jumped by about 66 percent in December 2015 over the same month in 2014, according to figures supplied by probate judge Kathy Martin. In December 2014, there were 26 permits issued, and in 2015, 76 permits were issued. The increases usually are seen when there is a perception that gun ownership is threatened, knowledgeable sources say. In December of 2013, permits totaled 41. Annual figures for the three years show that in 2013, 470 permits were issued; in 2014, 424, and in 2015, 542. Persons owning firearms which they intend to carry on their persons must come to the probate judge’s office for an application, Judge Martin said. The applicant then visits the office of the Lamar County sheriff for a photograph, fingerprinting and criminal background check, she added. Purchasing a firearm requires a federal form 4473 which includes name, address, driver’s license number and other ‘intensive’ information, according to local sources. ’There is no gun registration,’ Martin said. ‘We are permitting the person. Those who sell guns require names and addresses of the purchasers, but that does not allow what the carry permit allows. Criminal background checks are to be returned to the probate judge within five days. The checks, she said, ‘go back to the day you were born – other background checks may exclude any criminal problems encountered many years ago, but this is a serious process.’ The process stops if the person has a criminal charge that has not been adjudicated, she added. ’We can do nothing until there is an adjudication, no matter what the decision in court may ultimately be. That stops until we get further information,’ Martin said. She said that Lamar and counties of like size are fortunate that the process does not take as long as it does in larger counties, Martin said. ’I understand that in Coweta County, they’re trying to process 100 to 150 applications every day,’ she noted.

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