Gun permit costs to increase March 1 - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Gun permit fee rises; Mental health issues addressed

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) -

The price of a permit to carry a gun is about to increase. In two weeks, the GBI's Georgia Crime Information Center will increase the cost of background checks on weapons carry licenses.

Seven more dollars - that's how much money you'll have to pay for a background check if you're trying to get a weapons carry license in Georgia.

"I don't think the $7 will deter, I think it will probably make people frustrated if anything," said Cook County Probate Judge, Chase Daughtrey. Who also says in his county firearm permits have more than tripled in the first two months of 2013 to 63, compared to only 20 in 2012. And he doesn't see it slowing down anytime soon.

"Obviously when you're seeing these heinous acts in movie theatres, schools, and things like that, people are a little bit on edge and rightfully so," said Daughtrey.

Since 2009 the cost of a weapons carry license has increased from $39.25 to the new price of $79.25. This time around, the GBI's Georgia Crime Information Center's fee increase is for more extensive background checks.

"It needs to be more strict, I mean the more strict it is the less you have to worry about people getting them that shouldn't have them," said gun owner, Johnny Price.

And with recent shooting rampages across the county, gun sellers say they can't keep up with the consumer demand for firearms.

The manager at Valdosta Pawn says gun sales have doubled since this time last year. And he says it's women who are coming in to buy small revolvers like a snub nose .38.

Judge Daughtrey says extensive back ground checks are needed now more than ever.  "I know it's a second amendment right but we have an obligation to make sure the general public is safe and to make sure that people who are not eligible do not receive a permit if they don't qualify for one," said Daughtrey.

The firearm permit cost increase will go into effect March, 1st.

The $79 license includes the fingerprint fee, application fee, and the most expensive, the background check.

And who should get a gun?  The sheriff of DeKalb County is calling for more extensive mental health checks before someone can purchase a gun. Sheriff Tim Brown called on state lawmakers to include mental health status in background checks.

Dougherty County Sheriff Kevin Sproul says he agrees there are mentally ill people who don't need their hands on guns. But he has questions about how their mental background will be assessed and the cost involved.

"A price has to be paid for everything and you have to weigh that in, too. Are we talking about people with known illnesses who have been diagnosed or are we talking about possibly making this a part of an application process where whoever comes to get a gun permit has to go through this screening? If that's the case, then we're going to have to research it a lot more," said the sheriff.

A gun permit application currently only asks whether someone has been institutionalized for mental illness. Of the 20 pieces of gun-related legislation introduced by Georgia lawmakers. None would increase mental health screenings.

    

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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