Colorado concealed carry permits see dramatic increase in 2013

More people in Colorado than ever before are attempting to legally carry a concealed gun, and by no small margin.
It’s 87 percent more.
And while 2012 saw a sizable increase from 2011 of permit seekers, that figure pales in comparison to this year.
From January to June, 31,518 background checks were processed for concealed-carry permits by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, according to bureau data. For the same period last year, there were only 16,886 processed.
In addition, more background checks have been processed in the first six months of 2013 than in all of 2011 — and only 1,305 fewer than the total for all of 2012.
Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson said the demand for permits has become so great, he had to add staff to keep up with applicant numbers.
Experts differ on the motivating factors behind the soaring numbers.
University of Colorado at Boulder professor Hillary Potter said the driving force behind permit seekers may be political.
“A lot of people are concerned with what the government did (by passing gun-control laws), and they are feeling restricted,” said Potter, an associate professor in the department of sociology.
The new state laws include mandating universal background checks for gun sales, a 15-round limit on firearm magazines, and banning online-only concealed-carry certification training.
“It’s groups spreading fear,” Potter said. “I’m not surprised.”
Others contend the skyrocketing numbers are a direct result of preparedness.
“More people are realizing they are responsible for their own protection,” said Richard Abramson, general manager of the Centennial Gun Club.
The business offers training courses for those seeking concealed-carry certification.
“We have 500 students a month going through the courses,” Abramson said.
Abramson maintains that by the time a violent crime has been committed, it is too late to rely on police.
Other experts said the cause of the increase of permit seekers is difficult to surmise.
University of Denver professor Jeffrey Lin said a single reason cannot be pinpointed for the growing number of armed citizens.
“It is impossible to know these things,” said Lin, who is an associate professor in the department of sociology and criminology.
“Predatory person-on-person crime is not increasing,” Lin said.
Abramson noted that most of his business’ current students seeking certification for a permit are first-time gun owners, and out of those, a large portion are women, he said.
“Our women’s-only classes fill up the fastest,” he said.
No matter the reason, Robinson said most people seeking a permit understand the responsibility they are undertaking.
“A lion’s share of the people applying are the right people, so we have few denials,” he said.
In addition, in Arapahoe County, Robinson said there have been few instances of permit holders acting in an “inappropriate” manner.
Those seeking a permit must be at least 21 years old.
Certification, a background check, paperwork and fees are required to be completed before a sheriff’s office shall issue a permit.
State law stipulates that the permit and a valid photo ID be carried with the firearm at all times.
Permits expire every five years and must be reapplied for with a new background check run.
Since June 2003, when it became legal to carry a concealed weapon in Colorado under the Concealed Carry Act, the CBI processed 200,148 background checks for applications.
Lawmakers approved a measure the past legislative session barring entirely online certification for the permit-issuing process.
Previously, some sheriff departments accepted online concealed-carry certification, which some websites offered to perform in about an hour.
Under the new law, a portion of certification may be done online, but some training must take place in the physical presence of a certified instructor.
Ryan Parker: 303-954-2409, or

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