Summit County concealed-weapons permits soar
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” The Summit County Sheriff’s Office issued 49 concealed-weapons permits in 2007, a big jump from the 27 permits they issued the previous year.
Aplications for permits in Colorado have skyrocketed in the past year. In 2007, 9,880 people statewide applied for permits, compared with 6,649 people in 2006 and 6,670 in 2005, according to the County Sheriffs of Colorado.
“I knew I was getting a lot more than I did the year before,” said Paulette Horr, the public information officer for the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. “Everybody has their own reasons for applying, but I know that it has become a lot easier to get a permit since they changed the law in 2003.”
In 2003, the Colorado General Assembly passed a law which created uniform state standards for issuing concealed-weapons permits. The new law required county sheriff’s to issue permits, and those applying must be at least 21 years old and must demonstrate competence with a handgun through training classes or prior military or law enforcement experience.
According to Horr, the application process for a concealed-weapons permit is relatively easy and, after completing a firearm safety class, individuals are submitted to a background check by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and can receive their permits in only 4-6 weeks.
State law mandates that permits cost $100 and each county adds an administration fee that usually costs around $30. Permits must be renewed every five years.
“In the past you had to have three letters of recommendation to get the permit so the standards today seem relatively simple,” Horr added.
Kremmling police officer and certified firearms instructor Bob Dillon has also seen an increase in people interested in obtaining concealed carry permits.
Dillon has been teaching firearm safety to police officers since 1980, and last summer he decided to capitalize on the increased public interest and started offering a firearms safety class to the public at the Blue Valley Sportsman Club in Silverthorne.
“Since I started offering classes last summer every class has been full,” said Dillon. “Between phone calls and people just coming up and asking me I usually get around 15 people a day who are interested in the classes. In total I had about 130 students last summer and will probably have over 500 this summer.”
Before Dillon started offering classes in Silverthorne, those interested in obtaining concealed-weapons permits had to travel to Denver to find firearm safety classes.
Classes in Denver usually range from $125-$175, whereas Dillon’s class is only $75.
Dillon accepts up to 20 students per class, and classes last eight hours covering all concealed carry laws. Although the law does not require it, Dillon does four hours of classroom training and four hours of training in the shooting range.
“I wouldn’t feel good if someone left the class without having some knowledge of how to safely operate a firearm,” said Dillon. “If anybody in the class demonstrates something unsafe then I kick them off the range. I’ve never had to do that though, almost everyone that has gone through the class has done a good job.”
Dillon says he has people from all walks of life enroll in his classes, and last year he formed an all women’s class because there was such a high demand.
There is no clear-cut explanation for the sudden increase in permit applications statewide, but both Dillon and Horr agree that it may have something to do with the changes in the political atmosphere in Washington D.C.
“One guy told me he wanted to get a permit before a democrat gets in the White House and possibly changes the gun laws,” said Horr.
“There seems to be increased anxiety over the political situation so some want to get permits before the elections,” Dillon added.
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