A budget crunch at the state level has caused the Cherokee County Probate Court to increase the fee to obtain a Georgia weapons carry license.
The increase is due to the Georgia Crime Information Center, a division of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, increasing the fee to perform state and federal background checks, which will rise from $37.25 to $44.25.
GBI Spokesman John Bankhead said the increase is a "budget issue."
The GBI revised increased the fees for fingerprint-based state background checks submitted for "employment, contractor or licensing purposes," according to a GCIC operations bulletin.
"These changes are a result of the significant revenue shortfalls experienced by the state of Georgia, which necessitate that GCIC recover the costs incurred in conducting fingerprint-based CHRI searches," the bulletin said.
Cherokee County Probate Court Judge Keith Wood said he doesn't think the increase will deter a person's decision to apply for a license.
"The desire to apply is typically — and rightfully — driven by considerations outside of monetary concerns," he added.
The Probate Court has seen its license applications increase by nearly three times, according to year-to-date figures Wood provided Patch from 2012 and 2013.
Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7 last year, the office had 360 applications. So far this year, the office has received 1,137 applications.
The surge, he added, has propelled the court to apply its resources to handle the applications, which in turn impacts his staff's ability to handle its other responsibilities such as handling estates, guardianships, mental health cases and marriage licenses.
"I am blessed to have a staff that is extremely competent and very flexible so they have been able to do what is necessary to maintain what I consider to be excellent service to our citizens in all areas of operations in our office," he added.