If you meet the citizenship and residence requirements for concealed firearm carriage you may proceed with a rather slow and laborious process to apply. You fill in the necessary forms, pay $140 to the sheriff get fingerprinted and photographed, pay another $150 for a KBI investigation of your suitability and take an 8 hour course on gun safety, the law and self defense. Then you must demonstrate your ability to shoot by hitting a target from various distances. (The target is actually sent to the attorney General\’s office!) A few weeks later, providing you cleared all these hurdles you get approval and instructions to proceed to the drivers license bureau to complete the process. It turns out that everything you\’ve done so far is much less frustrating than what you are about to experience. Here is what happened to me:
I arrived at the Olathe DVM office at 1:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and found 10 people waiting outside the building it was so crowded they could not get inside. Indicated wait time was 2 1/2 hours. Driving to the Mission office at 2:15, I found conditions even worse. The situation during the afternoons on the next two days was the same, except that those standing outside were suffering in 90 degree heat. Friday morning I arrived at 7:15 am,was seventh in line and processed in an acceptable 25 minutes. When I left at 7:45 I counted 18 persons already in line.
The question arises why the public should tolerate the obvious mismanagement of an agency which collects fees for service but does not provide even remotely adequate service. Speaking to some employees I found frustration and discouragement. One handed out the Topeka phone number for complaints routinely. I believe the front line employees are doing what they can in a most difficult environment. Management obviously does not care and clearly lacks competence. Incredibly during the busiest time of the day five of the available stations in the mission office were closed. The clerk responsible for taking photographs, not being busy was reading a newspaper, while more than 60 persons were standing in line.
The offices are too small and they are closed on Monday, even if they are open more than 40 hours a week. The management forgets that the citizens coming to their office are customers who pay for the service before they leave the premises. Having your picture taken cost $12. Taking measures to treat the public as customers and to accommodate their needs requires flexibility ,proper staffing and some quality assurance measures. What passes for managerial skill and ability at the DVM is pitiable and unacceptable.
One solution to improve service is to outsource. This is already taking place in a couple of locations in Wichita where AAA is handling renewals. They are open six days a week and well liked by the public. While I have a problem giving this task to an agency which also sells insurance I believe that we need to explore alternate businesses who might be willing to provide the service which the DVM is unwilling and unable to render. Look for legislative action in the next session.