The wait for a pistol permit in Onondaga County has steadily gotten better since a logjam was created in the wake of the passage of the NY SAFE Act.
A year ago, it took 15 months get an appointment with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department simply to apply for a pistol permit.
"We’ve been able to reduce the wait from over 15 months to three months. That’s a tremendous improvement,” said Deputy Chief John Balloni.
Most of that is due to extra manpower put on the pistol permit desk, as well as learning how to process permit applications in a more efficient manner. The back up for permits had been building ever since President Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008, but exploded after New York’s tough gun control law was passed a year and a half ago.
When the wait got too long, Onondaga County put a half-time employee on the job of cutting back on the wait for these appointments, and also put light duty deputies on the job. Balloni says new computer software is the next step in cutting the wait times even further. Balloni says the software will allow applicants to fill out most of the application online.
“They’ll be able to fill in the vast majority of it over the internet," said Balloni. "Currently if they fill it in on paper, then we have to transfer that information into the computer, and print cards and stuff. Now it’ll be a single process, the card printing, the permit printing will be done electronically.”
That software is expected in place this fall. Once up and running, Balloni says the wait time for a pistol permit should drop from the current three months to about two weeks.