Gun owners up in arms over SLED concealed weapons permit backlog - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Gun owners up in arms over SLED concealed weapons permit backlog

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Is the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division breaking state law? Some concealed weapon permit holders think so. Viewers and state employees tell us it's taken them 110 and 120 days to receive their permits.

A backlog for CWP licenses and renewals have allowed some permits to lapse, leaving gun owners up in arms.

As of Monday, SLED has issued 44,544 permits this year and another 18,552 are pending.  That's more permits than all of last year and it's July.

"It's certainly a situation where we have seen a dramatic increase over the years, especially over the past few years," said SLED spokesman Thom Berry.

Two computers crank out the permits at a minute and a half to process, and it takes just as long to process renewals as it is to process new applications done on paper.

"It is a very labor intensive process because of the fact all of that data has to be inputted by someone and that takes time," said Berry.

State law gives SLED just 90 days once a new application is received to process the request, that includes running the background check, fingerprints, and giving the local Sheriff's office 10 days to weigh in on permits.

"Whether it is background checks or other parts of the process we have to wait ourselves to get something back in," said Berry.

Renewals submitted online make the process slightly quicker, but are also work.

CWP instructor Jack Suber explains.

"The permit's valid for four years," said Suber. "Obviously you could have somebody break the law in that amount of time and so SLED has to do their due diligence and continue with the background checks to make sure you're legally able to carry and possess a firearm before they reissue that permit."

Instructors say you can speed up the process.

"It's attention to detail on the application, making sure that everything is completed properly," said Suber.

Volunteer constables and temps are now helping meet the demand and SLED will add another computer in the coming weeks, all efforts to cut down processing times.

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