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Gun permit applications go online

Blair first in state to offer option

Blair County residents can now apply online for a license to carry a firearm.

“We are always trying to provide a better service to the community,” said Blair County Sheriff James Ott, who pointed out that the Blair County Sheriff’s Office is the first in Pennsylvania to give residents the online option of applying for a license to carry a firearm.

By going to the Blair County Sheriff’s Office web page at www.blairco.org, residents can choose from a drop down menu to either apply online or through the conventional method, which since the COVID-19 crisis has entailed setting up an appointment and going to the sheriff’s office at the Blair County Courthouse.

The online application is made possible through a partnership with Permitium LLC, and won’t add any costs to the sheriff’s office budget, Ott explained.

While in the past, applicants had to spend $1 to $4 on a money order to pay the $20 application fee, the online application carries with it a $4 convenience fee and a $1 credit card fee.

Ott said residents can still apply by filling out a form and providing a money order, although he said the process is streamlined when a person applies online because they won’t have to set up an appointment and then wait at the sheriff’s office while it is processed.

Once the online application is completed, the applicant can pay with a credit or debit card. Once it’s submitted, the staff at the sheriff’s office will review it and if it is properly completed, it will be submitted to the Pennsylvania Instant Checks System for approval.

Approved applicants will be notified online or by telephone or text to schedule an appointment to be photographed and pick up the license at the sheriff’s office. Ott said a proper photo identification card is needed to be photographed and to pick up the license.

“The new application process allows applications to be submitted anytime — day or night,” the sheriff said, which helps his staff move applications through the PICS system because they can review overnight applications each morning and clarify and correct any questions with the applicant before submitting.

“The online process will also allow us to reduce the amount of time an individual spends inside the courthouse, which is important as we face the current COVID-19 conditions,” Ott said.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.

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