There was a sea of humanity last Monday – more like a swarm – at the Delaware County Courthouse in Media. Outside, available parking spaces were hard to find; inside, long lines of people waiting.
What was the attraction? A major court case? A celebrity in town? No.
Delaware County residents were at the sheriff’s office applying for new permits or renewals for a license to carry firearms. It is not uncommon for people facing wait times and sometimes long lines at the courthouse.
Early last Monday afternoon, a mix of men and women sat on the benches outside the offices awaiting their turn. Most declined to talk about it.
“I’m filling out the application for self-defense reasons,” said a Chester woman who chose to remain anonymous. “Things are crazy out there. The city I live in, there have been quite a few shootings, and my family and I need protection.”
John McCann, the sheriff office’s public spokesman, said lots of applicants have been an ongoing phenomenon since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
“Every now and then, when there are other incidents that take place in the region or in the country, people stream in,” he commented.
“Who knows why people want gun permits, it could be any number of reasons,” added McCann. “It’s been an ongoing cycle for years. Some days it’s like a ghost town and other times you have to wait in line to get to the desk.”
McCann says the lines aren’t an unusual occurrence, especially when letters are sent for renewals. He estimated there are 4,500 to 5,000 active gun permits in Delaware County.
The application includes two (non-family member) references and complete background investigations conducted by the state police using the National Criminal Investigation Center. At the completion of the investigation, applicants will be notified by the sheriff’s office as to the outcome of their application.
Gun permit desk hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday – Friday, except county holidays. There are extended gun permit hours one Monday and one Saturday a month.