Gun owners and firearms advocates have filed a lawsuit against Wayne County, Michigan, claiming officials take too long to process and issue concealed-carry pistol licenses.
According to FOX News, many of the plaintiffs say they have taken and passed the right classes needed to obtain a concealed-carry permit. But even after submitting the right paperwork to the Wayne County clerk’s office, they have had to endure months-long delays and extended waits.
Attorney Terry Johnson, who is representing the plaintiffs, said it seems nonsensical that the county retains ordinary processing times for every type of document except concealed carry permits.
“How can you process birth certificates, death certificates, and marriage licenses, but at the same place you’re in—the clerk of the county—you can’t process a concealed pistol license like every other county?” Johnson asked FOX2.
One concealed-carry applicant, identified by FOX as Kristal Hunt, said she had to call the county clerk’s office to get an earlier appointment.
“I’d rather wait three months than nine,” Hunt said.
Johnson explained that the long wait time seems unique among Michigan’s counties—even in the Metro Detroit area.
Neighboring counties, such as Oakland and Macomb, have purportedly been processing applications at a far faster pace, often issuing licenses within a month.
But Wayne County—the home of Detroit, Michigan’s most populous city—appears to be operating on a much-extended timeline.
“It’s either they don’t want to do it,” Johnson said, “or they just don’t care.”
“When you have counties such as Oakland, Macomb, that are able to get you in in two, three weeks — the worst I’ve heard in those places has been literally four weeks. That’s one month. So, when someone says, ‘I’ve gone from 11 months to five months,’ again, that’s five times worse than anybody in the metro area,” Johnson added.
However, Wayne County Clerk Cathy Garrett offered a simple explanation to FOX2: her officer is understaffed and lacks adequate personnel.
Beyond that, Garett said in a statement, Wayne County has far more concealed-carry applicants than most other Michigan jurisdictions. Garrett opined that, once her office’s staffing shortage is corrected, the process will begin to move much faster.
Garrett’s office later issued a statement on the subject, saying:
“In an effort to address the appointment wait time, the Office of the Wayne County Clerk has implemented the temporary measures of servicing appointments during the evenings and on Saturdays for the months of March and April. New desktop fingerprinting machines were successfully installed and have helped with the efficiency of processing applications. However, the main issues remain of limited staff and office space. Once we get additional staff and increased office square footage, then we can accommodate more customers.”