By CRAIG FREILICH
Applications for pistol permits in St. Lawrence County have shot up since the passage of the NY SAFE Act in January.
That’s making more work for the St. Lawrence County Clerk’s office, and for those who perform the background checks on applicants, the county Sheriff’s Department, the state police, and local police departments.
Paid applications for handgun permits have doubled in the first three months of 2013 compared with January to March in 2012, according to the county clerk’s office.
In the first three months of this year, 243 paid applications for permits to possess a handgun in New York State were received by the St. Lawrence County Clerk.
That’s more than twice as many than in the first three months of 2012, when 105 were submitted.
In figures provided by the clerk’s office to Sheriff Kevin Wells, 332 applications were received for all of 2011 compared with 403 in 2012.
Wells explained that once an application is received, an investigation is begun into the applicant’s background to see if there is any reason a permit should not be issued.
The more applications there are, the more investigations Wells said local law enforcement will carry out. “We do the majority,” Sheriff Wells said.
“It’s been a gradual increase, but it’s been a strain on our law enforcement personnel, and also other law enforcement agencies,” Wells said.
“Ninety nine point five percent of those applications are probably granted. Most people apply only if they think they’ll get one,” Wells said.