Gov. Martin O’Malley has vowed to give the Maryland State Police all necessary means to clear a backlog of applications for gun purchases before new firearm restrictions go into effect Oct. 1, according to The Baltimore Sun.
The newspaper reports there were more than 38,000 applications in need of processing when the effort to clear the backlog started on Saturday. The logjam is the result of a larger than normal amount of applications being filed after the Maryland General Assembly passed strict new gun regulations earlier this year.
In a news release post Saturday, the Maryland State Police announced state employees from several state agencies including the Department of Heath and Human Services, Department of Transportation and the Department of Human Resources would be helping to process firearm purchase applications.
But using state employees, who are not sworn law enforcement officers, to help clear the backlog has angered some Republican elected officials.
State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, who represents Harford and Cecil counties, sent a letter to O’Malley critical of the plan because it uses employees who do not work for the Maryland State Police to process gun purchase applications.
"My office started receiving a firestorm of emails from very upset citizens of this state. They were extremely concerned and angry over the private information contained on their firearm application being handled by anyone other than sworn state police employees," her letter reads.
Harford County Executive David Craig, a candidate for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, also sent a letter to the media expressing his concerns about the plan to clear the backlog.
"Numerous state agencies with no experience in this will be tripping over themselves pretending to mop up the mess created by this ill-conceived legislation," Craig said in a news release. "Moreover, in a state with the most entrenched political monopoly in the nation, there is absolutely no incentive to do the job right, because their ultimate objective has already been accomplished which is to seek media attention and exploit tragedies."
But the Maryland State Police argued in the news release that proper security measures, such as only state police personnel conducting background checks, confidentiality agreements for employees involved in data entry and prohibiting employees from accessing information from the 16 inquiries made by state police during a background check are being taken.