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Columbia County sees rush of weapons license applicants

Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 8:59 AM
Last updated Friday, Dec. 21, 2012 1:43 AM
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After last week’s shootings at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., Columbia County residents have rushed to Probate Court to apply for Georgia Weapons Carry Licenses.

Columbia County Probate Court Clerk Michelle James takes a photo of Patrick Caudill, 21, for his Georgia Weapons Carry License application.  VALERIE ROWELL/STAFF
Columbia County Probate Court Clerk Michelle James takes a photo of Patrick Caudill, 21, for his Georgia Weapons Carry License application.

On an average day, 10 to 15 people apply for the weapons license at the Columbia County Justice Center, said Probate Judge Alice Padgett.

On Monday, the court staff handled 22 applicants before the photo and signature machine failed, leaving several applicants to return at a later date. On Tuesday, 33 people applied for the license. Some were renewals, but most requests were for new licenses, Padgett said.

“Somebody said they heard the price was going up; that’s why they were doing it before January,” Padgett said. “The price is not going up. We’ve not been notified, and we would have already been notified.”

Patrick Caudill, of Grovetown, applied for a license Wednesday because he enjoys sport shooting, including clay pigeons.

“My dad has his (license), and I just turned 21 three months ago,” Caudill said. “I’m home for the holidays from school, so I figured I’d get it. I was planning on getting it anyway. It’s something good to have.”

Padgett said none of the applicants said recent talk of stricter gun laws prompted them to apply, but she suspects heated discussions since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School are the reason.

“Nobody has said it, but …,” Padgett said, adding that her office has seen a rise in weapons license applications all year. “I don’t know how a concealed-weapons license prevents gun control or helps gun control.”

Applicants must pay the $72.25 fee, provide a driver’s license and be fingerprinted and photographed before a background check is begun. The person is licensed in 15 to 30 days and receives it in the mail. It is good for five years.

Permitted residents are allowed to carry a handgun or knife except in prohibited areas, including government buildings, jail or prison, places of worship, mental health facilities, bars (unless otherwise allowed by the owner), a nuclear power facility and within 150 feet of a polling location.

Weapons also are banned from schools unless the permitted carrier has it in a vehicle or on his or her body when picking up a pupil.

“One of the reasons people get these is when they go and buy a gun they don’t have to go through the background check because they’ve already done it for the permit,” Padgett said.

The Columbia County Probate Court accepts applications in the Evans office or the Appling office next to the county courthouse from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

For more information, call the Probate Court office in Evans at (706) 312-7254 or visit

A call Thursday to Richmond County Probate Court seeking its numbers on gun permits was not returned.

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OpenCurtain 12/20/12 - 10:48 am
We all knew this was coming 5 years ago.

It is here now facing us and the Anti-Gun crowd and Socialists are squeezing every news bite out of it towards their agenda. 1st by initial greater restrictions on ownership, leading to a total ban years down the road.

But I have yet to hear 1 solution proposed to address the CAUSE, the nut jobs.

Again the reason was a mentally ill person that gained illegal access to weapons that he was denied by the existing gun control laws. Laws that would hamper the purchase by honest citizens.

So Why aren't we addressing the CAUSE?

In each of the 3 last mass school shootings it was mentally ill people. Either just plain sick in the head, or also playing out a DARK HERO role.
A role repeatedly seen over and over on TV, at the Movies, or in Xbox or PS3 type computer games.

Why aren't we addressing the Hollywood Syndicate, that makes $$Billions$$ each years filming Action pack Gun slinging, mass killing horror movies? Why aren't we clamping down of Violence Rating for movies and computer games?

Why aren't we seriously addressing the growing number of Dangerous individuals with Mental Illness problems in America? That the PC crowd has seen fit to protect, because "...they can be medicated and lead normal lives as long as they take their pills"? That the ACLU & PC Crowd then protects, because "...they have a right to quit taking that pill".

Face it like, it or not,
until we address the CAUSE, any new laws and/or bans are useless.
The nut cases will turn to using vehicles, gas containers, chemicals or things we consider common every day items that can still kill quickly in large numbers.

After 50 years of Terrorism, it would seem to me it makes more sense to properly start securing our schools.

REDRIDER 12/20/12 - 11:03 am
No Formal Training!

Georgia just gives these permits out, with out training and qualifying on a gun range with a hand gun. Ge I don't blame people for getting them. But there is more to carrying a weapon concealed. There are laws that state when you can pull it and use it. You all need training. SC laws make you take a course for conceal carry permits and Georgia don't even recognize the SC permit in there state for conceal carry.

David Parker
David Parker 12/20/12 - 12:39 pm
Excellent suggestion for the

Excellent suggestion for the type of gun laws that I have no issue with RedRider. It's the agenda pushers who are causing the division and skewing perceptions. We should be trying to protect ALL the children all the time, not lower the body counts with some theory that another ban/law addresses the real problem.

Seems like the popular question is "Why do you need an auto/semi-auto weapon?" I saw a serious response that went something like, "If the police and military need them to protect me, then I need them to protect me when they aren't there." 100% agree

Chad 12/20/12 - 02:03 pm
Concealed Carry,

Georgia is easy to get a concealed carry permit, it is also accepted in FL, NC, AL, but not SC. And SC is not accepted in GA. As far as the need for semi automatic weapons, a wheel gun can fire 6 rounds just as fast. The operator just needs to practice. Reloading, of the wheel or semi takes on average with a person trained and practiced about 3 seconds.
It is not unheard of for it to take several rounds to stop an attacker. Training is important to proper use and handling of a weapon. Then continued training to maintain that standard. Is just as important. What happened in CT. is very sad. However, by the time the first responders arrived there were already several people killed. It is sad to say that the police are more than likely there to clean up the mess than stop it. The Portland shooter was stopped by a civilian carrying a CCW. The police arrived after the shooting had stopped. Criminals don't care about the law, and they sure do not care about you or your family, the only person you can count on to protect your family is yourself.

Bulldog 12/20/12 - 03:23 pm

Georgia does not require training. SC does require training. I have been a certified firearms instructor for 30 years and no one believes in the need for training more than I. However, training should not be mandated by the state. The training in SC is mandated by the state and currently is so designed that an individual can obtain this training for less than $150 in most cases. If the state decided to restrict gun ownership they could do so by restructuring the training requirement to make that amount $500 or perhaps $1000. Safe and effective firearms ownership requires training and practice, but states have no place mandating training for a constitutional right. How would you react to a law that requires a specific training course on writing prior to purchasing a word processor? Public speaking? Going to church?

David Parker
David Parker 12/21/12 - 09:04 am
Columbia Co. here

grouse you missed on all counts. I still support the Bill of Rights however.

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