INDIANAPOLIS | Indiana State Police plan to hire extra staff and shift current personnel to clear up a backlog of more than 45,000 applications for licenses to carry a handgun.
Police said mass shootings in other states and the fear of potentially restrictive gun laws have led to a significant rise in the number of Hoosiers seeking a handgun carry license.
Prior to 2013, a typical month would bring in about 5,200 new applications, according to police. They received 23,000 applications in January.
While applications have declined since the start of the year, there were still more than 6,500 applications last month, police said.
The agency is required to issue or deny a handgun carry license within 60 days. The increasing number of applications has pushed the average processing time to 110 days, police said.
State police Superintendent Doug Carter has ordered a review of license-granting procedures with an eye toward streamlining the process and preparing for future application spikes.
He said the additional staff should enable police to address the current backlog of permit applications and get back under the 60-day limit for review by September.
Carter said gun owners who submit their fingerprints electronically generally have their license applications processed about two weeks faster than Hoosiers submitting ink-on-paper fingerprint records.
Across Indiana there are 493,205 active licenses to carry a handgun, roughly 1 in 10 adults in the state.
Lake County, the state's second-most populous, has the second-highest number of carry licenses with 32,341, according to police.
There are 12,286 active licenses in Porter County, 7,988 in LaPorte County, 2,862 in Jasper County and 1,404 in Newton County.
The names of permit holders are confidential under state law.