Back to normal? Sheriff's office drops COVID restrictions on carry applications

Seth Perlman

It’s not just mask mandates that are disappearing around the country as Democrats try to court voters who are over the nanny state pandemic precautions the left has wholeheartedly embraced over the past two years. In a sign that things really may be returning to some sense of normality, the sheriff in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania has announced that for the first time in nearly two years, people applying for their concealed carry license no longer have to make an appointment to do so.

Since March 30, 2020, because of social distancing recommendations connected with the coronavirus outbreak, the sheriff’s department has required residents seeking to acquire or renew permits to call for an appointment.

“I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about it, studied it and decided to go back to permitting walk-in applicants, effective immediately,” [Sheriff James] Albert said.

Appointments had been spread out Monday through Friday in 15-minute increments. Recently, many who made appointments have not bothered to attend, he said.

“I checked (Monday). And out of 60 appointments, we had only 28 people who had reserved a spot show up,” Albert said.

I’d be curious to know when those appointments were originally made, because for awhile other western Pennsylvania sheriffs departments were taking many months to get applicants inside the building. It may very well be that some applicants changed their mind and didn’t bother showing up because they no longer want a carry license, but my guess is a good portion of the no-shows simply forgot when their appointment was scheduled.

Thankfully, it’s a moot point now, at least in Westmoreland County. And with many Democratic politicians nationwide now running away from mask mandates, vaccine passports, and other “emergency” measures instituted over the course of the last two years, I expect these kinds of structured limitations on how many people can apply for a license at any given time to largely vanish over the next few weeks.

Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t come back if we start to see hospitalizations and death rates start to climb again, but given the sheer weariness of the public when it comes to COVID restrictions, I think most public officials outside of indigo blue cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco will be very reluctant to revert back to putting public buildings on semi-lockdown status and making residents get appointments for basic government services.

It may be a small step when it comes to getting back to normal, but it’s still crucially important, especially for those hoping to lawfully exercise their right to bear arms. Our rights don’t become less important in an emergency, yet gun owners from coast-to-coast have been placed in a legal limbo for months over the past two years thanks to the COVID-related restrictions that made it virtually impossible for them to obtain a carry license.

The easiest way to fix that problem, of course, is to adopt permitless carry laws and scrap the state-mandated permission slip to bear arms in self-defense. I’d love to see all 50 states become Constitutional Carry locales, but I know that’s not going to happen anytime soon. At the very least, though, we need to make sure that going forward, anyone wanting to exercise their right of armed self-defense has the opportunity to do so legally and lawfully without being impeded by government bureaucracy or “emergency” restrictions that last for two solid years.