Morrelli Proposal to Raise Gun Permit Fees in Luzerne County

Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County – It’s no secret that Luzerne County has had its share of budget struggles.

Now councilman Rick Morrelli has an idea he hopes will help and save a few jobs in the process. His suggestion includes raising the fee for concealed carry permits.

Not that long ago Plymouth resident, Mark Ruseskis shelled out $20 dollars for a concealed carry permit to carry around his 9 millimeter handgun. If he had to pay anymore than that he might have said ‘no thanks’.

“Absolutely I would have been more hesitant,” Ruseskis said. “I would have discussed it with my wife because she also got a permit.”

Morelli’s proposal involves raising the fee from $20 for five years to $150.

Council has to pass a budget by early December. The current proposal by Robert Lawton, Luzerne County Manager, includes an eight percent tax increase and a $2.7 million deficit.

That’s where Morelli’s proposal comes into play.

“There are a lot of fees and permits that are outdated,” he told Eyewitness News. “We should take a look at them. If we’re not looking for different areas like that it’s going to be passed on to the taxpayers with tax increases.”

With the extra fee that Morelli suggested the permit would also last a few extra years.

According to interim Sheriff Brian Szumski concealed carry permits have been going quickly. He told the Citizen’s Voice that his department expects to sell about 5,000 permits this year. If they should the same amount under Morelli’s proposal they would raise an extra $650,000.

“I’m a believer that people should have guns,” Morelli said. “All I’m saying is that if you have to get a permit the fee is very low. I think if people want to conceal a gun they’re going to pay for it.”

Morelli’s proposal would have to take a few extra steps before it would be official.

However, Ruseskis said the extra amount Morelli is proposing is simply too much.

“$150 seems extravagant,” he said. “It almost seems like taking advantage of people. If there was something in between, a compromise, might be a better choice.”

Morelli told Eyewitness News that he’s already received feedback on his proposal. He said it might not be allowed by the state.

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