Howard Lovejoy was trying to buy parts for his AR-15 rifle at a Puyallup gun shop last week when the clerk told him his concealed pistol license wasn’t valid.
The 57-year-old University Place man had spent two hours in line at South Sound 911 early in the year to get the license, so he knew it should have been good.
“This is the first time I got a legal permit,” Lovejoy said. “I’ve always carried a gun, but I wanted to make sure things were on the up and up.”
But Lovejoy’s license was among about 3,500 issued without the issuing authority listed on them, making them invalid, said Kris McNamar, spokeswoman for South Sound 911, the Tacoma-based multijurisdictional records and dispatch center.
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South Sound 911 issued the faulty licenses between Jan. 4 and March 31, after a switch to a new, smaller state Department of Licensing form for the new year.
Some cards issued in late March might have the issuing agency information typed manually on them.
The issuing agency information is found on the reverse of the card. Concealed pistol license numbers beginning with “PXP” indicate the licenses were issued by South Sound 911.
Despite the problem with the card, the concealed pistol license is legal, McNamar said.
“If a person were stopped by law enforcement, the officer could run the CPL (concealed pistol license) number on the card and it would show that it was valid,” she said.
The full copy of the form, which has the issuing agency information, is sent to the applicant with the card, and the licensee can take the full form to any firearms dealer.
South Sound 911 will reprint the cards for free, McNamar said, and will notify affected cardholders by mail this week. The licenses will need to be returned by mail or in person.
The agency estimates the mistake will cost $2,500, including 40 hours of staff time and postage.
Lovejoy will be getting his proper concealed pistol license from the agency, and wants others to know about the “embarrassing” mistake so they don’t end up in a legal gray area.
“I hope other people see it and figure it out,” he said. “I’m just thankful nothing happened.”
If your permit is among those affected
South Sound 911 is asking people with concealed pistol licenses issued between Jan. 4 and March 31 to email firstname.lastname@example.org if they need a replacement so they don’t have to wait in the lobby, which can take hours.