UPDATE: 99 weapons permits granted in Lee County

UPDATED: January 24 at 4:50 p.m.

The Lee County Sheriff told KHQA that interest in getting gun permits has finally has slowed down. He signed only one permit Monday, after averaging at least 25 a day for the past couple of weeks.


People in Iowa were lining up in droves to get their hands on a weapons permit.

A new weapons law went into effect in Iowa on January first.

The new weapons law limits the discretion local sheriffs previously had in denying the weapon permits.

If a background check comes back clear, the sheriff's must grant the permit.

With Monday, January 3rd being the first business day in 2011, sheriff's departments around the state were slammed with people applying for carry permits.

At the Lee County Sheriff's Department 99 permits were granted Monday, the first business day of 2011.

KHQA's Jarod Wells was there to see the packed house.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl said, "For a while this morning I was signing a permit about one every five minutes."

It was a full parking lot and standing room only at the Lee County Sheriff's Department as people waited to get their weapons carry permit just two days after the new law went into effect.

Sholl said, "We had a line of people waiting at the door, we opened our office for business actually an hour later than usual, simply because we have our own daily business to take care of."

To make matter worse the state's computer system crashed from the high volume of applicants across the state.

Sholl said, "There's 99 counties all trying to run criminal histories."

Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl said there weren't any problems with any of Monday's applicants, nobody he had to research any further.

Sholl said, "I would like to think from what I'm seeing today, that most carry permit holders will act responsibly. And for the most part, I believe you won't know that they have a weapon on them. They will probably choose to conceal that weapon even though they don't have to."

Sholl urged people renewing their permits to avoid the sheriff's department on Monday because he expected a big turnout. And for people still planning on applying in the next few days, "there is a slight delay. Of course we have to run that criminal history and background check. Other than that the shear volume of people might keep them waiting 20 or 30 minutes," Sholl said.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion has some concerns with the new law.

He was hoping to have a city ordinance on the books by the time the law went into affect January 1st.

That ordinance would have banned weapons on all city property.

Council members voted to table that ordinance at the last council meeting.

"The council persons who voted to table it really said they wanted to see what happens with it and see if we have any problems with the gun law," said Marion.

Even though no ordinance was passed, the Keokuk Public Library has decided to put up signs banning guns on its property.

The police department has already been marked as a no carry zone.

The Keokuk Police Chief has also put up 'no weapons allowed' signs outside the city council chambers.