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WCSO working to eliminate massive CCW backlog

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 10:22 PM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Washoe County Sheriff Darin Balaam says he and his staff are working to eliminate the enormous backlog of concealed carry weapons (CCW) permit appointments by July 1, 2021. Currently, appointments are booked through March 2022.

“Let me be clear, there is no excuse for getting this far behind,” said Sheriff Balaam. “We’ve let the people of Washoe County down and we have let ourselves down. As to how we got here, some of it is the fact that we closed Administrative Services down for ten weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19; some, if it is getting used to working with new software and some of it, is just the sheer increase in the number of people purchasing guns and applying for a CCW.”

“Our classes alone in the last year increased over 400%,” Jay Hawkins, Training and Compliance Manager at Reno Guns & Range said, “We went from doing three classes a month to 12-15 at one point.”

According to sheriff’s office officials, there are more than 4,000 appointments currently booked for a CCW permit. 28% are renewal applications and 72% are new applications.

“We know we work for the public, and we want the public’s trust. We’re not making excuses.”

Wayne Yarbrough, Undersheriff at the Washoe County Sheriff's Office

Hawkins says while the situation is frustrating for many, he believes the backlog was out of anyone’s control. He added, “It’s the perfect storm of all of these different factors that hit all within a short period of time that just drove people to worry about their personal safety.”

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will be implementing several changes to try and catch up. For the first three weeks of March, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Administrative Services Division will open Fridays and Saturdays solely for CCW permit appointments. (Normal hours of operation are Monday-Thursday.) Appointments are being reduced from 45 minutes to 30 minutes, which will reportedly allow for 78 more appointments per week.

There is also a plan to add support to the administrative division in April. Two Washoe County Sheriff’s Office staff members will be reallocated from other areas within the agency to solely process CCW permits Monday-Thursday. During this time, the Administrative Services Division will continue to offer CCW permit appointments on Fridays, creating more than 180 additional CCW appointments per week.

Undersheriff Wayne Yarbrough added, “I have all the confidence in the world our employees will accomplish this.”

“I know that for people with expired permits, this is a small consolation. For those people and for those who cannot get an appointment to apply for a CCW for months, I apologize. I understand your frustration. We are working through the problem and if the steps we are taking don’t help, we will take more,” said Sheriff Balaam.

Washoe County Sheriff’s Office staff will be calling current appointment holders to reschedule those to an earlier timeframe. Those renewing their CCW will be contacted first, and then staff will call first-time applicants.

“Nothing is going to happen overnight, so people need to be patient,” Hawkins said.

Undersheriff Yarbrough says in order to complete an appointment, all applicants, new or renewing, must attend a CCW class first. For a list of approved CCW class instructors and locations, click here.

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