Last week I went to renew my Georgia Weapons License. This is the eighth time I've gotten, or renewed, a concealed carry license. Time flies.
As permits go, Georgia's was rather simple to get. I filled out a form at the Cobb County Probate Judge office, paid them my money, and went down to the basement to be fingerprinted. They have the same woman doing fingerprints who was there the last time I did this, 5 and 10 years ago. I talked to her a little while she rolled my hands across their glorified photocopier, and in 5 minutes we were done. In a couple of weeks I will get my new license in the mail.
We talked a little about my experience with the application and renewal processes in the places I've lived. By far the easiest renewal I ever had was in Alabama, probably 18 years ago. At that time the license had to be renewed once a year. The initial license took a month or so for the background check, but the renewal was something else entirely.
I went in the Sheriff's office, and the clerk had me fill out the renewal form, and took my $5. Then she called out "Sheriff!"
The Sheriff stuck his head out of his office, and the clerk told him my name, and said, "He's here to renew."
He looked at me closely, and then said "Nope, I haven't run into you this year. He's good." And I got my permit right there.
There is currently a bill before the Congress to compel the states to recognize gun permits issued by all other states, just like they do with drivers' licenses. As long as the Federal reach ends there, with direction to the states, I'm good. If we mess up and let the Feds into the permitting process beyond that, we're screwed.
Ultimately, I believe all states should allow concealed carry to all citizens who are not otherwise restricted from gun ownership, just as Alaska, Vermont, and Arizona currently allow, without a permit. Permits are a holdover from the Jim Crow laws, meant to prevent freed blacks from taking up arms. Beyond that, they are revenue sources - my Georgia permit cost $75.
As I was leaving the fingerprint office in the basement of the Cobb County Courthouse, I told the Fingerprint Woman I would see her in five years, unless Georgia went the way of Vermont. She smiled and said she was fine with that, she'd find another line of work.
It would be fine with me, too.