Westmoreland sheriff sets up gun permit issuing stations |

Westmoreland sheriff sets up gun permit issuing stations

Rich Cholodofsky

The county sheriff’s department wants to make it easier for residents to get a license to carry a concealed weapon.

Department officials have started a new program to have five concealed gun permit issuing stations at locations throughout the county in an effort to provide residents better hours and more convenient locations to buy or renew firearms licenses.

The new station in New Kensington opens today.

“It’s going to be better for people who work, and eliminate hassles of coming to Greensburg,” said Tim Carson, director of community affairs for the sheriff’s department.

Sheriff deputies will be on road on five days every month — in New Kensington, Murrysville, North Huntingdon, Rostraver and Latrobe — using equipment for the remote stations bought last year with a $25,000 federal grant.

Carson said Westmoreland and Berks are the only counties in the state where concealed weapons permits are issued outside of the courthouse.

Permits typically are issued in the basement of the sheriff’s department office in the courthouse from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The remote locations will be open from noon to 6 p.m.

Deputies will use the new computer equipment to do instant background checks on applicants with the Pennsylvania State Police. Those who are eligible to receive a permit will be charged $25.

Concealed weapons permits are big business in Westmoreland County. While the number of permits issued fluctuates, an average of about one in 10 of the county’s nearly 370,000 residents has a license to carry a firearm.

As of Monday, there were almost 36,200 active permits to carry a concealed weapon in the county, according to Carson.

The remote stations are expected to drive up that number.

“We estimate a 5 to 10 percent increase in permits,” Carson said.

Sheriff Chris Scherer was in North Huntingdon’s police department yesterday for the opening of the first remote permitting station. He said the effort is intended to offer residents a convenient option.

“Now people don’t have to take off a day of work,” Scherer said.

John Sabo, 67, of North Huntingdon was one of those people. Sabo was the first resident to sign up for a permit renewal when the North Huntingdon location opened for business at noon.

“This is really nice,” Sabo said. “Going to the courthouse is a pain. You have to pay for parking, and it takes a lot longer.”

Additional Information:

Where to get a gun permit

Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department remote permitting stations:

• Third Monday • North Huntingdon Municipal Building, police station, 11279 Center Highway

• Third Tuesday • New Kensington Municipal Building, 301 11th St.

• Third Wednesday • Rostraver Municipal Building, 205 Municipal Drive.

• Third Thursday • Murrysville Police Department, 4120 Sardis Road.

• Fourth Monday • Latrobe Municipal Building, 901 Jefferson St.

All locations will be open from noon to 6 p.m. They will be closed on days the Westmoreland County Courthouse in Greensburg is closed.

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