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Iowa Sheriff's Offices Inundated With Gun Permit Requests

Flickr / Paul Weaver

Requests for permits-to-carry for firearms are flooding county sheriff’s offices across Iowa. Some places are seeing increases of 300 to 400 percent. 

These law enforcement officials say the deluge is largely due to the fact the legislature extended Iowa’s permit-to-carry from a one to a five-year expiration back in January 2011. Now this first group is up for renewal and by law, once an application is submitted a permit must be issued within 30 days.

"We're getting to a point where it's becoming overwhelming," says Sgt. Brandon Bracelin of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. "I think people are getting frustrated with that. And we just want to get the word out that we are doing everything we can, but instead of getting them out within two or three weeks, we are up to a total of a month before we got those out."

Data from Polk County shows a monthly average of 527 permit requests to its sheriff's office. December 2015 had 1,446 permit-to-carry applications.  

In anticipation of the expirations, some sheriff offices have updated their renewal systems or kept to strict hours. Black Hawk County put its application online to help with the process.

"It's it’s kind of like a bald spot on a tire. Every five years you get this huge dump," says Black Hawk Sheriff Tony Thompson.

Many sheriffs also say recent news events may be contributing to the increase. 

"Often when there is mass shootings the numbers go up. I had heard from a number of people another reason is fear of losing the right to carry. I have heard that quite a bit," Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew wrote in an email. "We processed 340 for December. That is the highest number we've had in quite some time, we average around 60 to 70 per month."