Getting a concealed weapons permit in Washington is pretty easy. You just pass a background check, give up your fingerprints, pay your money and wait 30 days.
But that’s changed in the last two months. So many people are rushing out to get permits, many cities now have waiting lists that are being counted in months.
Brian Roberts lives in Covington. He went to his local police station to get an appointment to begin his application process. He was told he would have to wait a month to get an appointment. So many people are worried their guns rights are going to be taken away they are flooding the system.
“With all the gun bans they’re trying to impose on our 2nd Amendment, it’s now or never I guess,” Roberts said while waiting to get his fingerprints taken.
Roberts didn’t want to wait the month so he drove to the King County courthouse in Seattle where permits are taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. There were about six people in front of him, including Kathryn Czichas of Newcastle who wants a handgun for personal protection.
“We’re worried that there’s going to be more and more restrictions on what we’re able to purchase and even with ammunition limits,” Kathryn said. “We thought we’d better move on this faster.”
Julia Haggerty takes concealed weapons permit applications three days a week at the Shoreline Police Department. The normal wait time used to be about a week.
“We’re booked up through the end of March,” Haggerty said. “So we’re about two months booked out right now.”
Haggerty said she saw a similar rush right after President Obama was elected in 2008, and now again after the Colorado theater shooting, Newtown school shooting, and the President’s re-election.
“It doubled way back when, and now we’re seeing another double,” Haggerty said. “The phone calls have actually quadrupled.”
She said people from every walk of life are coming in: young, old, male, female. Many who have never had a gun or aren’t sure if they’ll ever have one. Almost all are worried that if they don’t act now, it will be too late. “Some people are almost in a panic about it,” she said.
Going through the application process can take 30 to 45 minutes. You should call your local police department to find out what the waiting list looks like, or you can always go to the main sheriff’s offices around the state where they don’t take appointments. Seattle Police also take applications on a first come, first serve basis at the main office downtown.