High gun sales swamping state police

PIKESVILLE, Md - A scaled down civilian version of a military rifle, it's used for hunting and sport shooting.

The Bushmaster was popular before December, but now if you want one you're going to have to wait a lot longer.

Normally the time needed to process firearm applications in Maryland takes seven days.

But a gigantic surge in gun sales has the state police licensing division working close to around the clock.

"We're working 21 hours a day seven days a week and the only reason we're working 21 hours is that the computers are down for maintenance for those three hours we have additional personnel there working on an overtime basis so we're really doing our best to knock down this backlog." State Police Spokesman Sergeant Marc Black says.

The problem is basically the numbers.

There are 45 different weapons that Maryland classifies as assault weapons, where the purchase can only be approved after a state police check.

And that doesn't include hand guns.

So buyers and collectors anxious about any future ban have been flocking to stores.

For example, for all of 2010, from January to December the state police processed 38,000 applications.

But for the two month period from December 2012 to January 2013 state police receive more than 26,000.

To give you an idea of how many handguns and rifles are being bought, in January of 2012 state police processed just over 4500 applications.

This year, that number tripled to well over 14,000.

"At the licensing division there are several data bases that have to be checked some of these data bases have to be checked one at a time so if you go into one computer you have to sign out of that data base and sign into another so that eats up the time." Sergeant Black says.

And when they say several databases, they are more than a dozen that have to be checked.

Everything from the criminal to mental health databases.

Right now state police say they have processed about 14,000 of the 26,000 applications they received in December and January.

The numbers are February aren't in yet.

Print this article Back to Top