The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 13, 2013

Demand for guns swamps background check system

BALTIMORE — When Scott Schulte stopped at Pasadena Pawn and Gun last week to pick up his fifth firearm of the year, the Maryland State Police still hadn’t finished his background check. The store let him take the pistol anyway.

“I figure I can use my discretion,” owner Frank Loane Sr. told Schulte. “I know you.”

An unprecedented surge of applications to purchase guns has overwhelmed Maryland’s system for checking out the buyers. Dealers are required to wait seven days before releasing a firearm — which in the past has been enough time for the state police to complete the background check.

Lately, though, it’s taken two months or more. Citing state law, some dealers have stopped waiting.

“There’s a big frenzy out there,” said Fred W.J. Kirchner, vice president of the Maryland Association of Firearms Retailers and owner of Fred’s Firearm Service in Chestertown.

“I’ve got a stack of papers here I’m waiting to hear from the state police on, but I’ve already transferred the firearms. There’s nothing they can do about that,” said Kirchner, who like Loane said he gives guns only to people he knows have passed background checks before.

The rush to buy guns began in Maryland after the December shooting at a Connecticut elementary school sparked talk of tougher gun control laws, and it has continued at a record pace. In the first four months of this year, more applications were filed than in the entire period of 2008 to 2011. More than 57,000 applications had been received by the end of May.

The state police have asked dealers to continue to wait — the current delay is 10 weeks — as officials have tripled the staff to check applications, with troopers working 21 hours a day, seven days a week. At any given time, 17 to 29 troopers are consulting the required 16 databases to see if an applicant should be denied.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Minnesota prosecutor convicted of sex misconduct DULUTH, Minn. (AP) — A jury on Friday convicted a northern Minnesota county attorney of sexual misconduct involving a 17-year-old girl after the prosecution argued the man was in a position of authority over the teenager. The jury found Cook County

    July 26, 2014

  • Some in 'torture' report denied chance to read it ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — About a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban

    July 26, 2014

  • Police hunt for 2 who carjacked SUV, killed 3 kids PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Police are searching for two men who carjacked an SUV and plowed into a group of children and adults selling fruit to raise money for their church, killing three siblings and critically injuring their mother and the carjacking vic

    July 26, 2014

  • 1 hurt in fiery Twin Cities interstate crash ROSEVILLE, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say one person was hurt in a fiery crash involving four vehicles on a Twin Cities interstate. The crash on Interstate 35 brought morning traffic to a halt during a rainy commute. The Minnesota State Patrol says a

    July 25, 2014

  • Black box found at Air Algerie wreckage site PARIS (AP) — French soldiers recovered a black box from the Air Algerie wreckage site in a desolate region of restive northern Mali on Friday, officials said. Terrorism hasn't been ruled out as a cause, although officials say the most likely reason f

    July 25, 2014

  • Ukraine reports overnight rebel attacks on border MOSCOW (AP) — The Ukrainian army on Friday claimed that soldiers came under artillery fire from the Russian side of the border overnight and were attacked by rebels in several other places in the restive east. Ukrainian forces are trying to close in

    July 25, 2014

  • Deal still elusive for Gaza cease-fire CAIRO (AP) — Turbulent negotiations to broker a temporary truce in the Gaza Strip are continuing against the backdrop of fresh Israeli attacks on Palestinian militants. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met twice Friday in Cairo with U.N. chief Ban

    July 25, 2014

  • Transcript shows concerns during Arizona execution FLORENCE, Ariz. (AP) — U.S. District Judge Neil V. Wake was attending a ceremony for a judicial colleague when he received an urgent — and unusual — request: Lawyers for a condemned inmate wanted him to stop an execution that didn't seem to be workin

    July 25, 2014

  • Sniper-Author-Ventura [Duplicate] Day 3 of deliberations ends in Ventura lawsuit Jury has deliberated 19 hours

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Man accused of stealing from group HASTINGS (AP) — An Apple Valley man is charged with five counts of theft for allegedly stealing more than $113,000 from a Rosemount youth athletics group. Sixty-two-year-old Robert Steven Reischauer was the former finance manager of the Rosemount Ar

    July 24, 2014