Right now, a lot of people are freaking out over Covid-19. I’m not going to say they’re wrong to be concerned, either. After all, the virus seems to be pretty nasty if you get it and while it has a fairly low probability of death compared to something like, say, Russian Roulette, it’s still a much higher percentage than most of us are comfortable with.
However, life also has to go on. People still have to take care of their personal business and go various places in order to function in our modern world.
That means keeping their carry permits up to date.
However, an anecdote shared in a story out of Washington state over at Ammoland has me more than a little concerned.
But now there’s a new problem, and it has gotten the attention of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. At least some law enforcement agencies in Washington have suspended taking fingerprints to complete concealed pistol license applications, explaining that it is for the purpose of reducing the risk of transmitting the COVID-19 virus by person-to-person proximity.
AmmoLand News contacted a couple of agencies that have been identified by gun owners as suspending or at least paring back their CPL activity, some until April 1. However, that decision may be at odds with state statute, which clearly says in the first paragraph, “The issuing authority shall not refuse to accept completed applications for concealed pistol licenses during regular business hours.”
“We’ve received reports from members and concerned citizens, especially in Washington State, that local law enforcement agencies are suspending license or permit application services, including the taking of fingerprints,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “That’s unreasonable because the right to bear arms shouldn’t be subject to administrative delays.”
Obviously, Gottlieb is 100 percent correct. Especially when you couple it with what Cam brought up yesterday with applications being delayed in many places, though those changes have a different “feel” to them.
These areas that are refusing to conduct fingerprinting aren’t suspending other operations that might bring them into contact with the infected. They’re still making arrests, for example. They’re still handling fines or other administrative functions.
So why simply refuse to take fingerprints?
The truth is Covid-19 gave them an excuse to stop doing something that, by law, they can’t really do. Their hope was to at least temporarily delay the issuing of permits in some deluded hope that they’ll actually remove guns from their cities’ streets. The problem with that is that the permit holders aren’t the ones who represent the problem in these communities.
At best, though, this will only serve as a temporary delay. Regardless, though, it’s an excuse. It’s the excuse many of these agencies have been waiting for in order to try and interrupt people interested in exercising their Second Amendment rights. It’s not about keeping officers from contracting the disease–there are other steps that can be taken to mitigate any risk such as frequent handwashing, etc.–but instead keeping guns out of the holsters of law-abiding citizens who are out and about.
This simply cannot be allowed to stand.
If there’s a silver lining to this, though, it’s that this is a temporary hiccup rather than something these agencies can sustain longterm.