Maryland State police are dealing with a massive backlog as they try to process thousands of background checks on people waiting to buy handguns. For some, the wait right now to get a handgun is more than 100 days. The police are required by Maryland law to conduct an extensive background check for every handgun application.
“It’s a challenge. It’s one that we are working around the clock, literally, to address,” said Greg Shipley, Maryland State Police.
So far this year–more than 72,000 firearms applications. This year on average, 2,300 new applications come in each week–triple the number of applications they were handling each week in 2010.
The law allows police up to seven days to do the background checks. After that, stores can legally give those guns to customers. But state police have asked stores not to do that.
Some stores, like Pasadena Pawn & Gun are complying, but reluctantly. “Customers are very upset, calling and complaining all the time. My hands are tied. There’s nothing I can do,” said owner Frank Loane.
And while the stores wait for state police to finish those background checks, many of them end up holding onto the guns their customers want to buy. Entire offices are full of rifles waiting to go to their owners. And in other rooms, entire walls are filled with handguns the store has been hanging onto. Some of these have been sitting here for more than 100 days.