Permits no longer necessary for handgun purchases

Gun stores are now expected to perform background checks on customers.

Citizens living in Boone County are no longer required by state law to obtain a permit from the Boone County Sheriff's Department when they wish to purchase a handgun or firearm.

Rep. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, who sponsored the law that went into effect on Tuesday, said the law is about "allowing law-abiding citizens" to buy firearms.

The law follows the example of 38 other states where permits through a sheriff's department are not required for gun ownership.

"Only one sheriff's department in the state was adhering to the statute," Munzlinger said. "Many were too stringent in their requirements."

He said the new law is the duplicate of a federal statute already in place concerning firearm ownership. With the addition of the new law, Munzlinger said he is not worried about an influx of guns in the general population.

Major Tom Reddin, of the Boone County Sheriff's Department, said the new law will mostly benefit seasoned gun collectors because they will no longer have to reapply for a permit each time they want to purchase an additional firearm.

Before this law went into effect, residents had to submit a permit request when they wanted to buy firearms.

A Sheriff's department employee would conduct a background search on each applicant.

Reddin said approximately 200 gun permits are requested each month. In 2006, 1,869 gun permits were issued. Normally, the department charges a $10 fee for processing the permits, which is generally a part of the county's revenue.

Reddin said the department's revenue is "more or less the same," because the loss of the fee takes the place of the cost of extra hours needed to do background checks.

In place of police department checks, gun shops will now be in charge of administering background checks on customers. Reddin said though these checks are not as thorough as those done by the sheriff's department, they are still effective.

Although it might seem as though the new law will allow easier access to firearms, Reddin said the number of guns in circulation should not increase significantly.

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