The basement of the Luzerne County Courthouse has turned into a waiting room for people applying for their concealed weapons permit. What use to be a ten minute process has turned into an all day affair. John Giampietro of Dallas says, "I was here at 8:30 this morning and they said they weren't taking people till 10:30 so I left. I came back and I was 15 deep already."
Giampietro is filing for a carrying permit for the first time. For him, it's a matter of self protection, "I've been wanting to get my license to carry now for quite some time now. I'm 24 years old. I kind of put it off and today the line is pretty bad. I should have done it a few years ago!'
Last month Luzerne County had over 650 applicants, compared to around 300 in December of 2011. For Bob Fernandez and countless others, there's an underlying reason for the rush to the Sheriff's Office. After the school shooting in Newtown, he figured he better get his license now before it's too late, "Yes, we do still need some controls on things but I don't know how overboard they are going to go so I was concerned about that."
Sheriff's deputies say if you want to file for a concealed weapons permit in Luzerne County your best bet is to be at the courthouse at 8:30 in the morning when they first open.