Due to the daunting volume of applications, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office is increasing the number of days it issues and processes concealed weapons permits, the agency announced on Thursday.
Starting on Monday, the sheriff's office will conduct CWP services five days a week, instead of the two days scheduled before.
"The numbers have gone up so much, we need to expand the service to process them in a timely fashion," said Sheriff Ben Wolfinger. "It takes time to do it all."
With potential federal gun regulation still looming after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, the number of permit applications has ballooned in Kootenai County.
The sheriff's office processed 655 regular permits from Jan. 1 to Feb. 21 this year, the agency reported.
That well outpaces the 271 regular permits issued in the same time frame last year.
"I think it's pretty obvious," Wolfinger said of why demand is surging. "With everything going on in the country, more people want these. They're putting in applications, and we need to process them."
Under the new schedule, the sheriff's office will accept new CWP applications, process renewal CWP applications and conduct fingerprinting from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
The office will issue approved permits from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays.
Brian Knoll, spokesman for Black Sheep Sporting Goods, touted the agency's goal of helping individuals pursue weapons permits.
"I think it's a welcome change, in the sense it's being done in an effort to better serve the people of Kootenai County," Knoll said.
The Coeur d'Alene store has seen its gun sales jump roughly 40 percent since President Barack Obama's re-election, Knoll estimated.
"People are frustrated, in the sense they're having a hard time getting basic items, like practice ammunition and reloading components," Knoll said.
The sheriff's office previously processed and issued CWPs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Today is the last day for that schedule.
Knoll hasn't heard of anyone complaining about a long wait at the sheriff's office, but he isn't surprised to hear that demand for CWPs has increased.
"With the pending threat of increased legislation, people want to avoid future additional red tape and headache," he said.