The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division says it’s now getting concealed weapons permits processed within the 90 days required by law, after a backlog of applications had slowed down the system.
“They are now back within the 90-day timeframe. They have put additional resources to it,” Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday after a state Budget and Control Board meeting.
SLED spokesman Thom Berry confirms, “If you look at the days when we actually have people working, we are under that 90-day window.” By that he means that SLED counts the business days when it has people working to process the applications, so while a renewal may take more than 90 calendar days, it shouldn’t take more than 90 business days.
State lawmakers put $820,000 in the state budget for SLED to study the CWP process, find ways to speed it up, and then implement those improvements. Berry says that could mean hiring more people, adding additional computers, expanding how much of the process can be done online, or any combination of those.
A lot of CWP holders who’ve been waiting on their renewals have also been concerned that they couldn’t legally carry until they get their renewed permits. But lawmakers also put a proviso into the budget to address the backlog at SLED.
That proviso says: A concealed weapons permit may not be suspended by a state official, agent, or employee supported by state funds if the permit holder has initiated a renewal or replacement application and the processing and issuance of a renewal or replacement permit is delayed for administrative reasons. A concealed weapons permit remains valid during the pendency of the renewal or replacement process so long as the application for replacement renewal is submitted prior to the expiration of the permit.
SLED says there are a total of 203,575 concealed weapons permits issued in South Carolina. There are 18,818 applications pending, both new applications and renewals. That does not count those that have come into SLED but haven’t been entered into the system.
SLED has issued 46,178 permits since January 1, 2013. It issued 2,093 last week.