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Maryland State Police Having Trouble Keeping Up With Gun Applications

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PIKESVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — The possibility of new gun control laws has triggered a surge in gun sales. Now Maryland State Police are falling weeks behind approving applications.

Adam May has more on the frustration of gun battles.

People trying to buy regulated firearms are waiting more than a month and a half. That’s because in Maryland, there’s a rush on guns.

For months, gun shops across Maryland have reported record-breaking sales as lawmakers in Annapolis consider tougher gun control laws.

“It’s not just assault rifles. People are buying more handguns, more shotguns, ammunition,” said Michael Horst.

Now the owner of a store in Baltimore County says some of his customers are waiting 50 days or more for State Police to approve the purchase of regulated firearms.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with the number of purchase applications coming in. We’re at numbers we’ve never seen before in State Police,” said Greg Shipley, Maryland State Police spokesperson.

Background investigators are getting hundreds a day–already 6,000 this month.

Many gun enthusiasts are concerned the new gun control proposals are only the beginning.

More than 400,000 individual Marylanders own 800,000 regulated firearms. Since the mass shootings of 26 students and faculty at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Marylanders fearful of weapons bans have bought tens of thousands of assault rifles and handguns.

State Police say they’re adding staff to approve purchases.

“The ultimate priority here is we are not going to sacrifice security for speed,” Shipley said.

Despite the increase in gun sales, a new study finds the number of households with guns is near the lowest in 40 years. So while there are a lot more weapons, they’re in fewer households.

Background investigators use 17 different databases to try and make sure these weapons don’t fall in the hands of criminals or the mentally ill.

Under Maryland law, there is a seven-day waiting period for regulated firearms.

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