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Maine’s police department is not able to process concealed weapons permits in a timely manner due to increasing demand, inadequate staffing and strict legal requirements.

Maine’s law specifically states that new concealed carry permits must be issued or legally denied within 60 days of the application’s date and renewals are required to be processed within 30 days. However, Maine’s state police simply cannot meet the legal deadlines as outlined in the state’s laws. In fact, Maine is processing concealed weapons permits that were applied for as long as 60 to 90 days ago.

The state police department, which is responsible for processing concealed carry permits for people living in rural areas or outside cities’ limits, is currently facing a backlog of 4,600 applications, with an additional 150 new applications coming in daily. With only one full-time employee to help issue concealed carry permits, the state police simply can’t keep up with demand.

On average it’s taking around four months to issue concealed carry permits, double the time period outlined in Maine’s laws. As with most government rules, there is no course of action for applicants that do not receive their concealed carry permit within the law’s allocated timeframe. All they can do is be patient and wait.

The police departments are also saying that the deadlines outlined in Maine’s laws are virtually impossible to meet due to mental health background checks and moral character inquiries, the prior taking nearly six weeks to process.

The legislature is, however, listening. The police are required to report on this issue, which includes offering their recommendations for making the process smoother, by January 15, 2014. Some ideas that have already been offered include increasing fees to allow for longer permit periods, instead of the standard four years. An additional option is outsourcing this task to other municipalities, including county services or local sheriffs.

With some people applying for concealed weapons permits out of fear and related to personal safety, officials in Maine say they will not ask for the 30- to 60-day period to be extended, as this is something that government agencies should easily be able to target.

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