After a record year for permit applications to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Ohio, some applicants report waiting months just to schedule an appointment in Cuyahoga County.
Ohio Attorney General's Office records show that county sheriffs issued a record 117,953 new concealed carry permits and 40,982 renewal permits in 2016.
Ohio law requires counties to process the applications within 45 days of their submissions. But there is no requirement for how long applicants can wait to schedule an appointment.
Recent applicants say the wait for appointments, especially in Cuyahoga Co., is longer than you’d think.
A Cuyahoga Co. spokesperson said the average wait time is 6 weeks.
But applicants like former Air Force veteran Keith Anderson tell News 5 they had to wait upwards of 2 months.
“We’re talking 8 to 9 weeks just to get in the door,” Anderson said.
SInce applying, Anderson has been waiting about 35 days for a response. The sheriff's department tells News 5 his application should be processed in the next week or two.
Anderson said he understands the need for reviewers to be thorough, but wishes he had more insight into the process.
“We want transparency, we want to know where we are in a process,” Anderson said.
According to recent Ohio Attorney General records, Cuyahoga County does not receive a higher volume of applications than neighboring counties. In the first quarter of 2017, the county received significantly fewer.
In Lake County, the earliest appointment time is currently within about 9 business days. In Summit County, applicants don’t need appointments.
CCW permit instructor Todd Karam said delays may be due to staffing.
“I think Cuyahoga County is a great example of where staffing needs to accommodate demand,” Karam said.
A county spokesperson confirmed that two employees currently handle all applications and that there have been issues with applicants failing to show up for appointments booked online.
Karam, owner of Cleveland Armory, said the wait times can be a deterrent.
“People have opted just to not bother with it. They look at the wait time and think, ‘Well, I’m not going to bother,'” Karam said.
He said it's crucial to note that permit seekers are not required to apply in the county they live in. They are only required to apply in an adjacent county.
Anderson said he commends the sheriff’s office for processing the applications with few errors. But warned that interested applicants will likely have to wait.
A Cuyahoga County spokesperson said that the office continues to adhere to the 45-day mandate for processing the applications and will not consider adjusting staffing levels at this time.