The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office planned to implement a new online and automated application system for concealed carry weapons permits on Wednesday in an effort to streamline the document-heavy and time consuming operation.

According the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office’s point-person for the concealed carry weapons (CCW) unit, Sgt. Deborah Moss, total countywide applications for the permits are on the rise.

Currently, 1,844 residents of Tuolumne County have an active CCW permit, or about 3.3 percent of the total population.

Moss said she must personally handle 30 to 40 personal interviews every month during the initial CCW application process while still attending to other duties at the Sheriff’s Office. A non-sworn Sheriff’s Office administrative employee must also spend time reviewing and processing documentation or issuing renewal notices to CCW holders.

The implementation of Permitium, an online processing system for initial and renewal CCW applications and payment of fees, should alleviate some of the administrative pressures, Moss said.

“It’s going to save time on this particular thing that we are doing. We have so many things that we are doing, we get it all done, it’s just having a little extra time,” she said. “It’s not like it’s giving us free time, it’s just streamlining this process so we have time for other projects.”

Permitium is a Laguna Niguel-based limited liability company that advertises “workflow management software for the government marketplace” and “document management solutions” for sheriff’s offices. The company is also listed as being a part of the California State Sheriff’s Association Corporate 100 Partner’s Program.

The most substantial effort toward efficiency in the CCW process will be the transition to a paperless system and the ability of permit-holders to pay fees with credit cards, Moss said. Previously, the Sheriff’s Office only accepted cash or check for the transactions.

Otherwise, the process will largely appear the same to a prospective or renewal applicant.

Applicants must be a resident of the county for a minimum of one year and attend a minimum, eight-hour instructional CCW instructional course to be eligible for a CCW permit, Moss said. The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office conducts a free CCW course every three months, Moss said.

The electronic application on Permitium will appear the same as it did on paper and require personal identifying information, possible criminal history and a description of the firearms in question. Moss said qualifying firearms must be under an 18-inch barrel, such as a pistol or revolver, but not firearms such as rifles, automatic rifles or shotguns, which could not be concealed on a person.

After the application process, a personal interview is scheduled with Moss, who reviews candidates for potential disqualifications and at the discretion of the “good moral character clause.”

Specific disqualifications include any previous felony convictions, some misdemeanor convictions identified in California Penal Code section 12021(c)(1), addiction to a narcotic drug and if a person has been held involuntarily as a danger to self or others. Other restrictions include mental conditions, probation conditions, juvenile offenses, domestic restraining or protective orders, or if a person renounces U.S. citizenship.

“We have to look at their totality of circumstances,” Moss said.

Once a person is approved, their fingerprints are evaluated by a Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation database before the permit is finalized.

The basic CCW permit fee is $245 — a $152 county fee and a $93 Department of Justice Fee.

Every two years, a CCW holder must attend a four-hour class and pay a permit renewal fee of $82.75.

Renewal applicants should allow 30 days prior to the expiration of their permit for the submission of their application and fees, a Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office press release said. A valid-photo ID is required to complete the pickup of the permit.

The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office will accept paper applications only through Aug. 8.

Contact Giuseppe Ricapito at (209) 588-4526 or gricapito@uniondemocrat.com . Follow him on Twitter @gsepinsonora.

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