Long Lines for Concealed-Carry Permits

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SCRANTON -- In the midst of the gun violence in this country, it appears more and more people in our area want to protect themselves with guns.

Permits for concealed weapons are up and all the gun violence may be one reason why.

Lines to get licenses to carry concealed weapons get longer at sheriff's offices throughout the region after every mass shooting.

People say they feel safer if they can legally carry a gun almost anywhere, and as Wednesday's shootings in California prove, anywhere can be dangerous.

At noon, a line of men and women ready for their background checks formed at the Lackawanna County Sheriff's office in downtown Scranton.

"Sometimes I just don't feel safe."

Larry Hickernell of Scranton doesn't even own a firearm. But in just 10 minutes he applied for, and received, a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"You never know who's going to do something, so you have to be prepared," said Hickernell.

"They're looking to make themselves feel more secure both at homeĀ and when they're on the streets," said Lackawanna County Sheriff's Deputy Earl Van Wert.

Van Wert knew this day after the San Bernadino shootings would be busy.

His office saw spikes in concealed-carry applications after the Newtown, Connecticut school shootings in 2012, and more recently, after last month's massacre in France.

"I would say we saw a 30 percent increase immediately, following the Paris attacks," said Van Wert.

Four counties in our area keep statistics on concealed-carry permits.

Roughly 14 to 15 percent of the population of Schuylkill, Lycoming, and Bradford Counties have a license to carry a concealed weapon.

In Susquehanna County, that number is 19.1 percent. That's almost one in five people with a concealed weapons permit.

"24-7, I carry every day, everywhere I go," said Joseph Rinaldi of Carbondale.

Rinaldi renewed his concealed-carry permit and like so many others, he believes it's a matter of doing his civic duty.

"I would hope that maybe my carrying my weapon might prevent many people from getting hurt. Possibly I could stop the shooter," Rinaldi said.

"It's nice to have thoughts and prayers for those people, but someone that could do something, could have possibly stopped it. And so maybe I could be that person," Hickernell added.

Not everyone with a concealed-carry permit is toting a firearm, or even owns one.

We spoke to a few people who are motivated to get the license by events such as the shooting in California, but they are still waiting to actually buy a gun and get training.


  • Dan F

    I was at the Pike County Sheriffs office today to renew my CCL. I walked in at noon and was the only patron there. That might be because already has about 17% of the adult population with CCLs.

  • robert g

    While I fully support the rights of the law abiding to own a gun and to carry one for self defense and oppose more useless gun control. I hope that anybody new to guns gets some training and practice with their new guns. They should also learn the laws about self defense. Something that is different in every state.

  • Randy

    I have no problem with American’s rights to bear arms, but we need to remove or revoke that permission to immigrants in our country, they should be required to turn their weapons in or be told to leave our country, this would help make our country safer to live in.

    • CrackaJones

      It’s basically the same thing, it lets you conceal carry a firearm either in a vehicle or concealed on your person.

  • Valfreyja

    This is the best possible course of action. When the law abiding stop being lambs to the slaughter, the slaughterhouse will shut down to some extent. There’ll always be crazy people, but numbers matter in this game.

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