The wait for concealed carry licenses in Wayne County, Michigan is now stretching into next year. In fact, FOX 2 in Detroit reports that folks in the city can’t even make an appointment to apply for their carry license until 2022, thanks to a backlog in applications and a slowdown on the part of the county in accepting them.
“I was a little surprised that I was getting calls again this past week and the week before, calls and emails from my constituents saying they still couldn’t get an appointment,” said Melissa Daub. “That the wait time was 10 months long. I went online this morning and I tried to book an appointment and the earliest I can get an appointment is January 17, 2022.”
Daub, a Wayne County commissioner, said she wants to help the clerk’s office speed up its handling of concealed pistol licenses. She’s putting it at the top of the agenda for the government operations committee meeting Wednesday.
“Clerk Garrett has expressed concerns about her department being short-staffed. That has been a long-term issue, and lack of office space,” Daub said.
I’m glad to see there’s at least one commissioner in Wayne County who finds this absolutely unacceptable, but the problem goes deeper than a lack of office space or being short on staffers. Beginning last March the Wayne County clerk’s office began requiring applicants to make an appointment to drop off their application rather than simply walking in and handing it to a county employee. That means far fewer Detroit residents can apply every day, but the demand for concealed carry licenses continues to grow.
The result? An unconscionable (and I believe unconstitutional) deprivation of the right to keep and bear arms. Shiloh Tyus contacted the clerk’s office last March, but was told she could not drop off her application until late July. She did so, but has yet to receive her carry license.
She’ll wrap up the process this week after initially receiving an appointment date for July 29th of this year.
“It’s been a really frustrating journey to have to wait, to go down there to just apply,” said Tyus.
Back in September, the county commission approved $74,000 in CARES Act funds to be sent to the clerk’s office to buy fingerprinting equipment and hire staff to start a call center.
“Because the commission had approved that extra funding for the clerk’s office to get that extra equipment, I was surprised that the wait time was still long and actually increased,” Daub said.
Daub says she doesn’t want people to get the idea that the clerk’s office is slacking off, telling FOX 2 that employees are “working very hard with the limited resources they have and it’s been very stressful with the pandemic.”
I’m sure that’s true, and I don’t blame the employees of the county clerk’s office for the delays. I do, however, blame Wayne County government for failing to process these carry applications in a timely manner. Detroit is one of the most violent cities in the nation, but residents who want to legally carry a gun are being told they have to wait a year or more to exercise a constitutionally protected right?
The Michigan state constitution declares that “Every person has a right to keep and bear arms for the defense of himself and the state,” but that right is being denied to thousands of applicants because of the failures in Wayne County.
Last fall, when the wait was “only” nine months to drop off an application, attorney Terry Johnson indicated that several groups were considering filing a lawsuit over the delays. So far we haven’t seen any litigation, but it’s high time that the elected officials in Wayne County either fix this absurd issue themselves or be compelled to do so by the courts.
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