COLLEGE PARK — Want to buy a gun? Get in line.
Maryland State Police are taking three times longer than usual to finish background checks on new gun purchases, Maryland gun dealers said in interviews.
The process usually takes seven days, but several Maryland gun dealers said it was taking three weeks or more for the agency to complete the checks. They blamed the delay on a surge in gun sales sparked by debate over new gun control regulations proposed by President Barack Obama and Gov. Martin O’Malley.
“Right now a standard background check is running about three weeks and MSP is being more and more restrictive,” said Andrew Raymond, co-owner of Engage Armament in Rockville. “That’s making things much more difficult.”
All background checks for purchases of handguns and assault weapons from licensed gun dealers in Maryland go through the Maryland State Police. Maryland State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo said she could not say whether the agency was taking longer to process background checks.
“Certainly the workload has increased, but we’re still trying to stick to the seven days,” Russo said, adding that state police troopers from other divisions have been called in to help process the high volume of background checks.
Jeff Buffenmyer of Garrett County purchased a handgun on Jan. 3. He received a phone call 20 days later saying that his background check came back and that he could pick up his weapon. He said he does not blame state troopers for the backlog, but was nonetheless frustrated.
“It is disheartening to watch my brother walk into a gun shop (in West Virginia) and buy the same gun that I’m looking at and walk out the door with it that same day,” Buffenmyer, 46, said.
Michael Faith, marketing director at Hendershot's Sporting Goods in Hagerstown, said his customers have faced similar delays.
“We are dealing with two to three weeks for paperwork to come back from MSP,” he said. “Now we deal with a lot of frustrated customers because they don't understand the law.”
The rules surrounding state and federal background checks are complicated.
Customers who purchase regulated guns from Maryland gun dealers must pass both federal and state background checks before they can receive their weapon. Maryland State Police conduct the state background check, which involves querying 17 different criminal and mental health databases.
The state police also process the federal background check by submitting information to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system. It generally takes less than a minute for the National Instant Criminal Background Check system to return a completed federal background check to the state police.
Stephen Fischer, a spokesman for the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division, said the recent increase in gun sales has not slowed down the federal background check response time.
Under Maryland law, if the state police do not complete a background check within seven days, a gun dealer is technically allowed to turn the gun over to the customer. Under federal law, however, the gun dealer could lose their federal firearms license if they release a gun without confirmation from the state police that the customer passed the federal background check.
Since the two background checks are intermingled in Maryland, gun buyers and gun dealers must wait until they get an answer from the state police on both background checks.
Even if gun dealers were legally allowed to release a gun before the background check was completed, most said in interviews that they would not do so.
“Even if dealers could transfer a gun before a MSP approval came in, most would not,” said Joe Wiczulis, owner of Sure Shot Firearms and Tactical Supply in Pasadena. “Dealers that I have spoken to are all in agreement that we do not want criminals to have guns. The last thing we want is to release a gun to someone, only to find out that they are prohibited.”
COLLEGE PARK — Want to buy a gun? Get in line.
- Local News
Fracking opponents cringe as unions back drilling boom
PITTSBURGH — After early complaints that out-ofstate firms got the most jobs, some local construction trade workers and union members in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia say they’re now benefiting in a big way from the Marcellus and Utica Shale oil and gas boom.
Did you know that Cumberland had a musical talent who recorded for Columbia Records, played around the world, including the Grand Ole Opry and Austin City Limits, and performed with Ricky Nelson, Barbara Mandrell, Merle Travis, Jimmy Dean, Grandpa Jones, Hank Thompson, Tex Ritter and many more in radio, TV and movies?
State: County not handcuffed on Terrapin Run
CUMBERLAND — An attorney with the state Department of Planning said that Allegany County is under no legal obligation to keep the Terrapin Run development in the county’s comprehensive plan. The plan is under consideration by the county planning commission.
Survey yields county’s most famous
CUMBERLAND — Many have heard of William H. Macy, Leo Mazzone, Aaron Laffey and other celebrities who got their start locally.
W.Va. legislative candidates gearing up for election
ROMNEY, W.Va. — Five area candidates will be vying for legislative seats in this year’s election.
Kamryn Rice, 7, of Flintstone, finds and bags a plastic egg during Cumberland’s annual Easter Egg Hunt Saturday afternoon at Constitution Park. Hosted by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, along with students from Frostburg State University’s Recreation and Parks Management program and the 4-H Youth of Allegany County, the afternoon also included games, relay races, face painting, temporary tattoos, arts and crafts, and a petting zoo sponsored by the 4-H Hare Raiser Club, as well as a visit from the Easter Bunny. The eggs contained candy and other treats.
Business community wary of minimum wage increases
CUMBERLAND — Allegany County businesses are certain to be impacted by the increase in Maryland’s minimum wage, set to reach $10.10 an hour by July 2018 under a law championed by Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Tipped workers left behind in pay hike action
ANNAPOLIS — Many minimum wage workers will be getting a raise now that a hike to Maryland’s wage has been signed into law. But while advocates are ascribing the increase as a win, there’s a bitter aftertaste for one group that was left behind.
Views vary among Americans when it comes to hourly rate
CUMBERLAND — Even among those who have worked minimum wage jobs, views on the minimum wage can differ.
“Minimum wage has to exist. There is no question there, so whatever it is, it will be called ‘minimum wage’. But it should not be below a living wage,” said Bonita Quick of Cumberland.
Income guideline change will increase WIC recipients
KEYSER, W.Va. — Raised income eligibility guidelines for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children will increase the number of those served in West Virginia by about 10 percent, according to the state health officer.
- More Local News Headlines
- Fracking opponents cringe as unions back drilling boom