The Nantucket Police Department in Massachusetts announced Wednesday that its officers would indefinitely halt new weapons permit applications due to heightened risk of coronavirus spread.
The department initially announced the decision on Twitter, writing that all fingerprint services were to be suspended, but the post was removed shortly after. The law enforcement body said the reason for its decision was that the employees who fielded the applications expressed “concern that they could not safely do their jobs,” according to a press release.
Massachusetts issues both Licenses to Carry (LTC) and Firearms Identification Cards (FID), according to a state website. Unlike most states which issue only concealed weapons licenses, residents in the commonwealth need a FID permit to purchase firearms of any kind, meaning Nantucket PD’s refusal to accept applications could effectively prohibit someone from first-time gun ownership entirely.
“Effective Wednesday, November 18, 2020 the Nantucket Police Department has suspended accepting any applications for permits or licenses that require a fingerprint based criminal records check,” the department wrote. “Included in this suspension are firearms related permits such as LTC permits and FID Cards.”
“This action was taken after employees responsible for obtaining these fingerprints expressed their concern that they could not safely do their jobs with the workplace safety procedures that we have in place. Because of the processes involved in obtaining these permits it is impossible to do while following state guidelines for social distancing in the workplace.”
— Nantucket Police (@NantucketPolice) November 18, 2020
The department wrote that it made a similar move to halt permit applications during the beginning of the pandemic, but resumed in July when they made “adequate workplace safety procedures.”
“We suspended accepting such applications earlier in the year when this pandemic first started and non-essential personnel were required to work from home,” Nantucket PD wrote. “We resumed accepting these permits on July 14th after implementing what we believed to be adequate workplace safety procedures.”
“However, at the time the island was not experiencing many, if any, cases of COVID. That has changed. And after listening to our employees, we agree that their concerns are potentially valid.”
Philadelphia police suspended firearms applications in March and were subsequently sued by the Gun Owners of America, a Second Amendment organization, and a number of city residents over the ensuing backlog of requests, according to a press release. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: New York City Rifle Permit Applications Surge by 340%)
Lt. Angus MacVicar of the Nantucket Police Department did not immediately respond to questions from the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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