Friday, February 18, 2011

Chesapeake apparently hates concealed carry

As much as some people seem to hate the idea of open carry, the sheriff here in Chesapeake must be a big fan of it. There's certainly nothing else I can think of to explain why he works so hard to discourage people from applying for their Concealed Handgun Permits here.

I got my first permit while living in Virginia Beach in 2004. The process literally took less than 10 minutes, and that included finding a place to park. I walked in, to a building that allows firearms I might add, handed the woman my paperwork, signed it, paid my fee, and walked out. They even had a nice sign pointing me in the right direction when I walked in the door.

I let that permit expire, since I rarely carried concealed by 2009. Since the law required me to open carry in places that served alcohol, it was just easier to OC all of the time rather than keep switching back and forth. Now that they allow you to CC in restaurants, I decided to apply for a permit again. Here's a little summary of my experience.

I show up at the City Hall complex. I walk to the information counter to find out where to take my paperwork, since I couldn't find that information on their web page. They point me to the courthouse building. Once I get there, I find that the office to apply for my permit is on the wrong side of the security checkpoint, so back to the car to drop off my cell phone. Back to the courthouse, where there are no signs even hinting where I need to go. The guard tells me "3rd floor", and nothing else. So up to the third floor to wander from office to office asking where to go. The third one finally tells me which is the right one, as opposed to "I don't know".

After dealing with my paperwork, the woman informs me that she needs my email, because Chesapeake, unlike every other city in VA, will not mail me my permit. They will email me, and I have to leave work early to come in to pick it up. Then I learn that I have to walk to the other side of the complex and wait some more to get my fingerprints taken. Strangely enough, all of the other cities around here can run a background check just fine without fingerprints. Granted, the other cities also find the VA State Police check to be adequate, so the check is done in about two weeks. Chesapeake, after getting that check back, finds it necessary to run their own check, which drives the wait right up to the 45 day mark required by law. Sometimes they run longer, so you have to decide whether to go in to have your application signed, taking more time from work, or just suck up the extra wait.

If mine goes over 45 days, I may make a suggestion to the VCDL to lobby for a requirement that the city has to refund your $50 fee if they go over 45 days.