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Probate courts see more weapons carry permit applications

One judge worried about owners' lack of experience

Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 8:22 PM
Last updated Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 12:12 AM
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The lack of experienced shooters applying for Georgia Weapons Carry Permits worries one area probate judge.

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Firearms instructor Chris Medlin speaks to a room with 10 people in a concealed weapons permit class in Aiken.  SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
SARA CALDWELL/STAFF
Firearms instructor Chris Medlin speaks to a room with 10 people in a concealed weapons permit class in Aiken.


After receiving 1,940 applications in 2012, Richmond County Probate Court reports that it has received more than 2,048 applications through November, an 8 percent increase.

Probate Court Judge Harry James says the increase could likely put more residents in danger rather than prevent loss of life.

“We are licensing people who don’t know how to operate or store their weapons properly,” he said. “We do have people who are genuinely handicapped, but the background check will check out. They are entitled to carry a gun, and I cannot turn them down.”

In recent years, James said that he has seen Richmond County residents as old as 90 applying for their Georgia Weapons Carry Permit. In Georgia, applicants aren’t tested for firearm proficiency, he said, which could be disastrous for gun license owners who are also first-time shooters.

With Georgia’s current gun laws, the application process is simple, Columbia County Probate Court Judge Alice Padgett said.

After paying the $79.25 application fee and filling out paperwork, applicants are only required to be fingerprinted and photographed. The entire application process, Padgett said, takes roughly 15 minutes to complete.

Once they pass the mandatory background check by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, applicants will get the stamp of approval from their county’s probate judge and receive their license by mail. That could take about two weeks from the day the application is submitted.

Padgett saw a more than 12 percent increase in weapons carry applications in 2013. She is reserved on her opinions regarding applicant experience.

“I don’t think it’s my role to voice my opinions on what the law should require,” she said. “That’s up to the legislators. As long as the applicants pass their background check, I issue them their permit.”

South Carolina takes a stricter approach to issuing weapons permits.

Residents must attend an eight-hour course presented by a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division-certified concealed weapon permit instructor before they can start the application process, said Chris Medlin, the owner and primary instructor of Your Best Defense in Aiken.

One part of the course, which covers everything from legal issues to gun safety, requires its students to pass a 50-question multiple choice test with a score of 70 percent or higher.

Students are also required to fire 50 rounds at a human-sized target from 10 yards to 15 yards away in the presence of an instructor. In order to pass the course, 70 percent of the shots must strike the target.

Courses such as the one taught by Medlin run permit hopefuls about $100.

After passing the course, applicants may submit their paperwork – which includes proof of training, fingerprints and a $50 application fee – to SLED. SLED will then verify that the applicant is legally allowed to own a firearm and that the instructor is certified before issuing the permit. The process, Medlin said, could take up to 90 days.

The added measures are worth the trouble, said Medlin, who boasts more than 18 years of law enforcement experience.

“The thugs are going to get a gun regardless,” he said. “I want the good guys, who are knowledgeable and trained, to be able to defend themselves. When they do it, they’ll know to do the right thing at the right time.”

Medlin holds his course most Saturdays at Chime Bell Baptist Church in Aiken, averaging about a dozen students at a time.

Lynn Rapp, 58, of Graniteville, attended Medlin’s most recent class, and she passed her shooting test with a score of 100. She said learning the gun laws before being allowed to carry is “common sense.”

“If you’re assuming, you’re going to get in trouble,” she said.

Though Medlin said he respects Georgia’s stance on gun laws, he said he would like to see more states require training before residents are allowed to carry a weapon in public.

“If you’re not taught, how can you be expected to know?” he said. “You need to have training before you start carrying a handgun.”

GUN PERMITS

Columbia County 2013

Applications: 3,024

Issued: 2,939

*Through Dec. 6

Columbia County 2012

Applications: 2,689

Issued: 2,633

Source: Columbia County Probate Court

Weapons carry licenses in Richmond County

2013

Applications: 2,098

Permits Issued: 1,996

2012

Applications: 1,940

Permits Issued: 1,834

Source: Richmond County Probate Court

Comments (34) Add comment
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oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 12/15/13 - 10:59 pm
9
1
Trained Criminals
Unpublished

Just how well trained are the areas criminals? What do they go through to get a weapon? Just whose side is the judge on? Dumbest statement by a judge to date.

bdouglas
5393
Points
bdouglas 12/15/13 - 11:01 pm
9
3
"In recent years, James said

"In recent years, James said that he has seen Richmond County residents as old as 90 applying for their Georgia Weapons Carry Permit. In Georgia, applicants aren’t tested for firearm proficiency, he said, which could be disastrous for gun license owners who are also first-time shooters."

And therein lies the reason SC doesn't recognize the GA permit. The fact is that NOT ensuring that the people you license at least have a basic proficiency in handling a firearm and the ability to hit what they're aiming at from a reasonable range is just plain foolish on Georgia's part. Even worse that GA doesn't recognize an SC permit BECAUSE SC refused to recognize theirs..that's just petty. Say what you want about the class and testing required in SC being lacking in some way, but at least it's *something*. Lack of a felony or violent tendencies does not qualify one to safely operate and carry a firearm.

deestafford
28680
Points
deestafford 12/16/13 - 12:01 am
8
1
How does he know...

How does he know that someone is not trained? Just because a person is 90 doesn't mean they don't know how to use a gun. When I get to be 90 I'll be down there renewing my CWP. Have there been any incidents caused by CWP persons being untrained or are we just saying there "may" become a problem? There are too many laws and regulations now because something "may" become a problem.

Why should I as a 27 year Infantry veteran who has commanded troops in battle and was responsible for over 40 ranges and training area have to go sit in a classroom and learn about how to fire a weapon? Is this just another lobbying effort for someone to make money? There are more reciprocal CWP agreements with GA than there are not.

wildman
1157
Points
wildman 12/16/13 - 05:33 am
5
2
Agree

This middle aged redneck agrees with the old redneck. Dumbest statement so far!

Riverman1
86910
Points
Riverman1 12/16/13 - 06:14 am
8
5
The Constitution says...

The Constitution says we have the right to bear arms. It doesn't say only after taking some kind of BS course that pays the instructor $100 per student.

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 07:14 am
4
3
Thank God for the right to

Thank God for the right to bear arms and to have bare arms in our country, so far. That spoken from the female point of view.

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 07:29 am
4
3
But, I do have to agree to

But, I do have to agree to disagree with this RM. It is pretty useful to have a rudimentary knowledge of the gun laws in your state, even if you don't plan to carry. And a little experience in actually firing a weapon is also helpful.

I had more than the eqivalent of the current cwp SC course in the 70's. Thank you City of Aiken. It was for women with little or no experience with guns.

Do you really want people with zero experience with a gun having a CWP?

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 07:46 am
2
3
Now to dees comment.I don't

Now to dees comment.

I don't know the full SC law, of course. And I totally agree with your comment.

As for the price of the course, my CWP instructor provided the location, the weapons, and the ammunition, plus his time.

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 07:43 am
2
1
Weird, my comment didn't

Weird, my comment didn't appear. So I reposted in different words. Then both appeared.

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 08:02 am
2
1
And yeah, I could resarch and

And yeah, I could resarch and read the laws, but I don't like legalese language.

GACopprhed
2136
Points
GACopprhed 12/16/13 - 08:05 am
3
14
Bunch of Wyatt Earp
Unpublished

Bunch of Wyatt Earp wanna-be's...ridiculous......

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 08:25 am
7
2
What an idiotic response.

What an idiotic response. Name me the number of incidents in Aiken Co and Richmond and Cola Counties where concealed carry permits were involved. Then name me the ones where the dead or injured victims might have fared better had they been carrying.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/16/13 - 08:31 am
10
2
Are there any other
Unpublished

Are there any other Constitutional rights that this judge thinks we should require training to enjoy? An untrained voter can cause great harm to society. Just look at some of the recent elections for your proof.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/16/13 - 08:33 am
9
3
GaCopprhed just took the lead
Unpublished

GaCopprhed just took the lead for dumbest comment with "Bunch of Wyatt Earp wanna-be's...ridiculous......"

Why would someone try to ridicule someone for wanting to excercise their Constitutional rights and protect themselves? I guess those who believe the Government should take care of everything would do that.

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 09:01 am
5
2
GAcpooerhead

For years I have been wanting to ask you this question. Never quite rose to a priority. I am still working.

I've just decided, based on your question, to ask you. Do you align with this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copperhead_(politics)

lhsparent11
59
Points
lhsparent11 12/16/13 - 09:33 am
5
0
Training is very useful!

The Columbia Cty. Sheriff's Department offers training a couple of times a year that is very valuable, yet FREE! Call them and get on the list. When they have enough, they'll conduct a class that is very beneficial to all that attend. I do have the right to bear arms, but I also wanted the comfort and confidence for my wife and I to handle them responsibly and proficiently! It doesn't have to be the law for common sense to be applied and people to get training on their own for their weapons!

Riverman1
86910
Points
Riverman1 12/16/13 - 09:45 am
7
1
90 Year Old Has Right to Weapon

I've probably had more training than most with my 20 years in the Army and lifetime of using guns. My point is that although we may wish everyone be trained it's their right to have a gun whether trained or not. The officer says his students must hit the target so many times. But what if a 90 year old wants to keep a gun and only wants to fire it in a dire situation of being attacked? He has that right even if he doesn't hit the target the required 70%. The editorial yesterday was about our constitutional rights slowly being taken from us. I view this as such a case.

jimmymac
42931
Points
jimmymac 12/16/13 - 09:48 am
1
0
2ND AMMENMENT
Unpublished

There shouldn't be any requirement to carry a weapon other than you cannot be mentally infirmed or a convicted felon. The whole license fee system is nothing more than a tax forcing law abiding citizens to pay for exercising their constitutional rights. It should be nation wide and crossing state borders should not make your carrying a gun a crime. Just because that locality doesn't recognize another states license doesn't eliminate your right to carry.

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 12/16/13 - 10:01 am
6
2
Like I said...imagine what
Unpublished

Like I said...imagine what would happen if a state required a civics class, at your own expense, in order to vote. How is requiring training at your own expense any different than a poll tax?

deestafford
28680
Points
deestafford 12/16/13 - 10:09 am
3
0
I think it's stupid...

I think it is stupid for someone to buy a weapon without some type of training and in my younger days it came from my Daddy. I got my first shotgun at age 8 and was hunting alone at 9. I think the vast majority, if not all, of he CWP folks, are responsible and as stated by KSL not involved in illegal behavior.

KSL, for an instructor to provide his time, weapon, and ammo as the one mentioned did he should be compensated and thanked for doing a useful service. And in keeping with states' rights I think a state should be able to require training as SC does. It does get ridiculous in some states and cities which are run by the left, and as we are able to do, people and businesses are leaving those states because of their gun laws.

Riverman1
86910
Points
Riverman1 12/16/13 - 10:10 am
8
2
If you think about it, the

If you think about it, the Constitution is not explicit on the right to vote although it can be inferred. However, the right to bear arms is plain as day. Requiring training interferes with that right.

nocnoc
44929
Points
nocnoc 12/16/13 - 10:10 am
8
1
Sounds like the law is FORCING the Judge to issues

permits that he does not want to personally do.

Are the Probate Judges (PJ's)
PRO-or Anti-GUN that is a question I would like asked and answered of each before the next election.

Riverman1
86910
Points
Riverman1 12/16/13 - 10:11 am
10
0
Look, if a blind man wants to

Look, if a blind man wants to carry a gun, he has that right.

nocnoc
44929
Points
nocnoc 12/16/13 - 10:28 am
5
1
The 2nd Right should not be a revenue Business.

The permit fees are too high already.

Add on :
CERTIFIED Instructor fees, $50 to $100,
Cost of Ammo, $4 to $45 for 50 rounds for practice and test
Cost of a Firearm and secure box and cleaning kit $349 to $1,500
Firearm Background check and other hidden taxes, $10 to $20
CC permit a plus gas and time off from work $100,

Do the math

It becomes clear the Government is either doing one or all of below:
* Added a revenue stream to a Constitutional right,
* adding a RED TAPE stage,
* and making Self Protection unaffordable for older citizens on fixed income and the poor.

QUESTION
Since a person has to get a background check at time of firearm purchased, why not have that check eliminate the extra cost of a CC background check, if both are done within <30 Probate Office Business days?

Why not just have the GBI issue a tracking number to the purchaser that can then be provided to the Probate Judge, The Probate Staff check the # by a computer and issue a permit on the spot for $25. (Material cost of the ID)

No second trip no 3 to 6 week RED TAPE delay

Self Defense Case solved.

KSL
134404
Points
KSL 12/16/13 - 10:36 am
7
2
Actually, I have a problem

Actually, I have a problem with all of the infringements that have taken place.

LLArms
470
Points
LLArms 12/16/13 - 10:49 am
6
1
So basically: Richmond County

So basically:

Richmond County Judge: This makes our community more dangerous.

Columbia County Judge: I am here to enforce the law as the people made it, I have no opinion on the matter.

No wonder Richmond County continues to take a back seat to Columbia County in this day and age. Judges are there to follow the law, their opinion should be kept private.

LLArms
470
Points
LLArms 12/16/13 - 11:04 am
6
1
Oh big surprise, just found

Oh big surprise, just found with a little Google-Fu that Judge James is a Democrat.

That explains why people taking care of themselves is troubling him. They should all by looking to the government, state, or county to protect them.

Bizkit
32948
Points
Bizkit 12/16/13 - 11:24 am
4
2
It's Christmas so you better

It's Christmas so you better be packing as you go shopping and are an easy target for criminals. Take the Mall for instance-you may need an assault rifle to assure your safety. LOL.

robert2410
1628
Points
robert2410 12/16/13 - 11:48 am
6
2
Actually Copperhed is kind
Unpublished

Actually Copperhed is kind of right for once. I truly do wanna be a Wyatt Earp if I run across one of his Obama voting home boys playing one of their games of knockout. And really Copperhed, I want it bad.

Bulldog
1333
Points
Bulldog 12/16/13 - 12:50 pm
7
0
Foolish Arguments

Most of those who demand training as a CONDITION of exercise of a constitutional right are missing the boat. There is a specific reason why many states do not require training prior to the issue of a "carry permit". More on that later. I have been a certified firearms instructor for 29 years. In that time I have trained thousands of civilians and hundreds of police officers at just about every level of competence. There is no one who believes in good training and continuous training more than I do. However, there is a big difference in recommending something and requiring something. The SC law, as it is currently written, is probably OK. The cost is not exorbitant, at least, not yet. The concern of many is that all it would take to eliminate "carry permits" in SC (or any other state which REQUIRES training) would be for the government to begin to increase the training requirements. The proficiency now required is now minimal; what happens when you have to shoot a 95% or 98% score in order to qualify? What happens when the course moves to a 5 day format and the cost moves up to several hundred dollars? The point is that requiring training in order to exercise a constitutional right is just plain dangerous. How about requiring training in journalism before you can publish your ideas or comment online? How about requiring that you demonstrate knowledge of the political system before you can vote? Maybe we should require a test on parenting before women could get a permit to get pregnant. (Maybe that's just in China...)The list goes on, but you get the idea. Some of you may know this, but Vermont actually has no law that "permits" people to carry firearms. People there can carry or not as they see fit with no interference form the state. Last time I checked, Vermont was still a pretty save place. Training recommended? You bet! Required? No way!

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