Thanks to the closing of government officers around the country last spring, hundreds of thousands of Americans who sought to get a concealed carry license were unable to do so, at least in a timely manner. In Illinois, the state police are still taking an average of six months to process concealed carry applications, and long delays can be found in Wayne County, Michigan; Philadelphia, and a number of other jurisdictions.
As COVID cases are starting to climb again in most states, could we see another round of shutdowns? It’s certainly possible, and in fact some isolated incidents are already popping up. After a COVID outbreak at the sheriff’s office, Douglas County, Missouri is hitting the pause button on accepting concealed carry applications.
Sheriff Chris Degase spoke on the matter “Sorry for any inconvenience this may cause but I believe we need to handle this responsibly and minimize contact with inmates and the public until this runs it’s course. Should you have any questions feel free to contact the Douglas County Sheriffs Office.”
The good news is that this shouldn’t pose too much of a burden on local residents. Not only is the closure expected to last only a week; Missouri is a Constitutional Carry state, which means that as long as you can legally own a firearm you can legally carry it without the need for a government permission slip.
The bad news is that we’re likely to see more sporadic closures as COVID numbers creep up. We’re already seeing places like Los Angeles County try to reinstate a mask mandate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if local and state governments controlled by Democrats end up moving back to lockdowns and closures of government buildings in the fall. On Monday, the Biden administration renewed a “public health emergency” proclamation regarding COVID, and we’re seeing lockdowns return in other countries like Australia, where half of the population is now living under lockdown conditions.
South Australia, a state of 1.8 million, imposed a seven-day lockdown after detecting five infections linked to a returned traveller, just as the neighbouring state of Victoria extended by a week a five-day lockdown that had failed to stop new cases.
“We hate putting these restrictions in place but we believe we have one chance to get this right,” South Australia premier Steven Marshall told reporters.
The largest city of Sydney, where the latest Delta outbreak started before spreading elsewhere, is in the fourth week of a five-week lockdown. Three regional centres were added to areas 250 km (155 miles) inland after a positive test there.
Sydney is the capital of New South Wales, the state that recorded 78 new cases on Tuesday, down from 98 a day earlier, for its biggest daily dip since Sydney went into lockdown.
Australia’s been much faster about reimposing lockdowns than even the most indigo of blue states in the U.S., but what’s happening Down Under may still portend greater restrictions here at home as the weather cools and more people spend time indoors, likely increasing the transmission of the virus.
I also think it’s likely that government offices will be among the first to either shut down or return to virtual work, which could lead to another round of delays for those seeking their concealed carry licenses. This is yet another argument in favor of Constitutional Carry, because your right to keep and bear arms shouldn’t be contingent on whether or not your local sheriff is processing applications at the moment. In 21 states, these potential closures won’t curtail the Second Amendment rights of residents, but for the rest of us, a right delayed will be a right denied. My advice for new gun owners; don’t wait for too long to start the process for your carry license, or else you could be waiting for a very, very long time before you receive it.