Tri-City locals looking for safety, applying for concealed license permits

TRI-CITIES, WA. - There's been a huge rush on new applications to buy guns -- and carry concealed weapons. Some cities have seen an outpouring of people turning weapons in following the massacre in Connecticut. But here in the Tri-Cities -- people are rapidly applying for a permit to hide a weapon.

Randy Harris owns a pawn shop, but he doesn't just sell guns, he owns them as well. Randy says he's seen a large spike in sales in the last few weeks, but not for Christmas presents.

More people said they felt they needed protection after the school shooting in Connecticut.

"It's very unfortunate we have a tragedy like that spur the enthusiasm for guns and people wanting to buy more guns," said pawn shop owner, Randy Harris.

This recent enthusiasm for firearms has lead to a logjam of people applying for concealed pistol licenses and going through background checks to purchase.

"More and more people are trying to buy guns and do background checks, the system is totally plugged up and a lot of people are being delayed at this time," said Harris.

Hopeful gun owners aren't seeing the quick turnaround they normally would. Checks are done by local police.

"A lot of things are not being accomplished administratively because they are focusing their time on processing the paperwork and conducting background checks," Cpt. Mike Cobb of the Richland Police Department.

Richland Police tell KEPR they've seeing five times as many applications to carry a concealed weapon as they have in months prior. Pasco P-D says they usually run around 15 applications a week, but in the last month have seen double that. Kennewick had 570 applications for a concealed-carry permit in all of last year. So far this year -- there's been more than 900.

"This is not a holiday rush because we have not seen this in the past," said Cpt. Cobb.

Randy is glad for the boom in business.

"I think the tragedy and election have spurred our sales," said Harris.

Which means more people in the Tri-Cities are now legally licensed to carry a concealed firearm.

Police tell KEPR that the process of getting approved or denied for a concealed pistol license is about five to seven business days. They do not expect decisions on approval to exceed that -- even with the added influx.