RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Lines were out of the door at the Wake County Public Safety Center Monday morning as many people waited to get their gun permits.
It comes after three total members of the permit processing staff tested positive for COVID-19.
On Monday, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker announced that two additional members of the permit processing staff tested positive for COVID-19 after coming into contact with the first staffer that tested positive –making for three total cases.
Four members of the staff tested negative. The news was announced as the sheriff’s office is already facing lawsuits for delayed permit processing times.
“It has been slow. It has been hard to get phone calls answered or just trying to schedule an appointment but I understand that they’re probably trying to do the best they can with limited staff as we’re all trying to do in this pandemic,” said Heather, a Raleigh resident seeking a gun permit.
“It appears to be a real slow process right now and the appointment times are really tight,” said Rod, another Wake County resident trying to get a permit.
A modified crew is now handling appointments and the facility has been cleaned and sanitized. The modified crew will also be tested for COVID-19 as a precaution.
Baker says they haven’t had to turn anyone with an appointment away so far and even took a walk-in appointment. Baker feels things are moving as smoothly as they can, given the circumstance.
“I must be concerned about the health and welfare of the staff of this office, they have families at home too. It would be pretty selfish to be less concerned about their welfare because of your desire to pick up an instrument that you have a right to have,” said Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker.
However some gun rights advocates want things to move faster, pandemic or not.
“Should emergency medical personnel slow down medical treatment to avoid contact with COVID-19? Of course not. Neither should Sheriff Baker. He shouldn’t use this excuse to deny people the ability to protect their families at a time when police clearly can’t,” said Paul Valone, Grassroots North Carolina President.
Baker says they are considering getting more staff in the permit processing department in the future to help out with some of the ongoing demand. The affected staff members did not come into contact with the public but if you have concerns seek medical advice.
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