Long Lines for Gun Permits in Lackawanna County

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SCRANTON -- Constantly a small crowd sat and waited in the Lackawanna County Sheriff's Office to apply for a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Some said they were just taking a precaution, others said they were exercising a right.

Rich Moeller brought his son for his first permit Tuesday.  Moeller said he's unsure of what will come tomorrow in President Obama's gun control proposal.

"Why am I bringing him? Because I feel his rights will be taken away. Because our constitutional rights are changing daily," said Moeller, of Olyphant.

Whether they owned a gun or not, many of the folks filling the sheriff's office while we were there felt the same way. Most going through the process for the first time and deputies said it's been busy every day since mid-December.

"Chaos, lines, lines like you'd see at the grocery store constant from morning until we close," said Deputy Dominic Manetti, ofthe Lackawanna County Sheriff's Department.

That's why Dep. Manetti and Sheriff John Szymanski made the decision to extend office hours for the time being. People can now apply for permits until 8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

"You can go out there and see a 75-year-old grandma getting a gun permit, to a kid who just turned legal age to possess a gun. So, it's a big influx of all types all generations. There's no set pattern for who's coming in just everybody's coming in," said Dep. Manetti.

Manetti said there are two main reasons new faces have come in for permits. Physical protection, or a protection of rights. Burton Lee isn't new here, he came to renew his carrier's permit, before, he said, it becomes more difficult to do so.

"I think it will be more time consuming and inconvenient for people like myself so I decided to come in and renew slightly earlier than I would have otherwise," said Burton Lee, or Roaring Brook Township.