City's spends more to process concealed weapons permits than it takes in
By ROBERT WHALE
Auburn Reporter News reporter
February 19, 2013 · Updated 9:22 AM
The City of Auburn's Police Department processed 835 concealed weapons permits last year.
For each application, a City employee has to run a background check on the individual, fingerprint him or her, type up each application, and prepare the prints and applications for mailing.
From start to finish, the process takes about 45 minutes.
State law sets the fee at $52.50. While the state of Washington reimburses the City, Auburn Police Chief Bob Lee said Monday, the fee does not cover the actual dollars spent.
"Take away the time spent, the labor costs with benefits, and we're probably at a negative cost of $9.68," Lee said.
The difference irked committee chairman Bill Peloza, who wondered if state law could be changed to ensure that the rate covers the actual cost incurred.
"This is kind of like an unfunded mandate," Peloza complained.
"It's not kind of one, it is one," said Mayor Pete Lewis.
Lee added that the state has actually reduced the cost processing a concealed weapons from $62 in 2006 to $52.50 today.
"I'm not sure how that took place, but that's what our records manager said," Lee said.
Has the City ever complained to the state in writing, Peloza asked? No, Lee answered, it hasn't.
Lewis said he was not eager to make a complaint, given the heated gun-control, gun-rights climate in the wake of the recent massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut.
"I think that at this particular time, with the events that are going on around in the region, the state and the United States, I'm not going to be pressing for increased fees for concealed weapons permits," Lewis said.
Peloza then suggested bringing the City's representatives in the Legislature up to speed about the situation.
John Partridge, chairman of the Regional Law and Justice Committee, offered to bring the issue up to the committee, whose members represent all of King County and its 35 cities.
"It would be an awesome opportunity for all these agencies to discuss the impact," Partridge said.
Lee said that the Police Department's new records manager is working on some ideas that could save time and cut costs, among them: purchasing a desktop fingerprint machine that would scan prints and send them automatically, replacing the rolling-the-fingers-in-ink process; and allowing part of the application process to be done on line.
"We would probably at least break even if not come out a little bit better," Lee said.Contact Auburn Reporter News reporter Robert Whale at email@example.com or 253-833-0218, ext. 5052.