I thought some of you current license holders might be interested in my experience renewing.
Getting my original GA firearms License was a fairly simple process. I visited the Fulton County Municipal Court building in Roswell (North Fulton County). Filled out a few forms; swore an oath before the magistrate; got finger printed at the police station located in the same building and then waited three months to receive my license which was dated December 25th (nice Christmas present!).
But that was five years ago and things have changed a lot in Fulton County since then - but not for the better. With my license set to expire in two months I set out for the Municipal Court building to process my renewal. After filling out the same exact forms as in the original application process I was told that the process was exactly as if I was applying for the first time and that now I had to go to a different location to be finger printed. I had two choices 1) A close by North Fulton county office that did traditional ink-based finger prints or 2) Downtown Atlanta (20-miles away to the south) for the digitized process. My first reaction was "it's a no-brainer- I'll take the local trip and get ink-printed." Until I was informed that the ink prints could take up to 8 (eight) months to process through GBI and FBI! By comparison the digitized prints would take approximately 8 weeks to complete the same process. AND my current license would become invalid after its expiration date regardless of the fact that I was in the process of renewing.
Today, I spent an hour driving downtown and back; and nearly two hours waiting in line to complete the 5-minute ($19.25) process of getting printed digitally.
I was told that the electronic scanner was costly - $1 million - and therefore was the only one in the county. I can understand and appreciate that. What I can't figure out is why it is taking GBI and FBI up to eight months to process manual prints.
a) Is there a backlog?
b) Are these organizations understanffed?
c) Are they trying to accelerate the transition to digital scanning at the local level?
d) All of the above?
What happens if that million-dollar machine breaks down?
I would be interested if anyone could shed some light on why this process seems to have deteriorated so much over the past five years. And why there isn't an abbreviated renewal process for current license holders in good sted with the law. Is this renewal process unique to Georgia or Fulton County?
I will also update the forum when I receive my renewal. If I don't receive it by December 25th I do have the option of paying an additional $4 to receive a 90-day license extension. I am told this is a simple process of paying the money and signing a form.