Of the $72.25 fee residents pay to apply for a concealed weapons permit, $22 of that amount goes to the county’s general fund.
“These monies are not reserved or assigned to any particular expense,” said county spokesman Robert Quigley. “So they will pay for general fund stuff like public safety salaries, equipment for county operations, parks and rec programs, etc.”
The county’s general fund collected $212,878 from its share of the permit fee during fiscal year 2012.
In just the first four months of the 2013 fiscal year, it has already collected $131,593 said Jim Pehrson, the county’s finance director. If the rush to get new permits continues at its current rate, the county is on track to collect $394,779 for the full 2013 fiscal year, more than double the amount it had budgeted or anticipated from this revenue source.
While growing, Pehrson said gun permit revenue is a very small portion of the overall general fund.
The uptick in gun permit applications began after the re-election of President Obama and gained more momentum after the December school shootings in Connecticut. That’s when Obama and others, such as former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, began to call for stricter gun control laws.
“I think people are concerned,” Pehrson said. “You know Cobb County is a fairly conservative county, and people are concerned about their Second Amendment rights, and the potential of the federal government infringing on those rights, and they want to be able to protect themselves. That’s what I perceive, that they potentially perceive an infringement on those rights and they want to make sure I guess that they have the protection.”
In fiscal year 2008, gun permit revenue for the general fund was $72,784. It rose to $135,410 in fiscal year 2009.
“You could say it maybe is driven more by politics,” Pehrson said. “(Obama) was elected November 2008 so all of the 2009 revenues were the first year of his presidency, and that’s some of what we thought is that there was just some angst amongst a primarily conservative county that thought” (their Second Amendment rights would be curtailed).
Andrea Arruda in the Cobb County Probate Court Office said earlier this week the $72.25 fee breaks down into $5 to the Cobb County Sheriff’s Office for fingerprinting, $37.25 to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for background checks, $7 to a vendor that makes the licenses, $1 to the probate judge retirement fund and the previously mentioned $22 to the county’s general fund.