Applications for concealed-weapon permits up 87% in El Paso County THE GAZETTE Newspaper By Ed Sealover March 10, 2008
DENVER - Applications for concealed-carry weapon permits in El Paso County rose 87 percent in 2007, fueled partly by several highprofile violent incidents locally and nationwide, said Sheriff Terry Maketa.
Permit applications rose 50 percent statewide and more than doubled in 18 of Colorado's 64 counties, according to a report issued Monday by County Sheriffs of Colorado.
Executive Director Don Christensen downplayed violence as a reason permit applications were up, noting the 2003 law mandating statewide concealed-carry permitting required that anyone who had a local permit before the law went into effect had to renew it by June 2007.
But Maketa said that of the 2,101 permits issued in El Paso County in 2007, roughly 75 percent were from new applications rather than renewals. El Paso County issued the highest number of concealed-weapon permits of any county in the state in 2007, but it is also the most populated, according to the 2006 Census.
Maketa said the greatest spikes in applications over the past year have come right after well-publicized incidents of violence.
After the February 2007 mall shooting in Utah, applications rose from 81 in February to 191 in March. Then, after the April rampage in which a gunman killed 32 people at Virginia Tech, applications went up from 174 in April to the year's monthly high, 210 applications, in May.
The trend continued after the December shooting of two sisters at New Life Church. Applications rose from 123 in December to 171 in January to 294 in February, according to figures from the Sheriff's Office.
The spike in the number of murders in Colorado Springs and a spate of legislative bills that cut into gun rights last year also factored into the equation, Maketa said.
He said he is not concerned about the growing number of legally armed people in the county. In fact, he said he believes law-abiding citizens make the region safer by getting the permits.
"Actually, I wish it was a higher number, because I know from experience that offenders in the jail system tell me they avoid crimes against people because they know there is a very high concealed-carry rate," Maketa said.
About 8,400 El Paso County residents now have active concealed-carry permits. The jurisdiction with the second-highest number of permits, Jefferson County, issued 1,139 in 2007 - 54 percent of El Paso's total.
Rep. Amy Stephens, a Monument Republican and House Judiciary Committee member, argued even more strongly than Maketa that people have been running to get permits because they believe their 2nd Amendment rights are being compromised while crime is going up.
She cited last year's SB34, which curtailed Coloradans' ability to use a concealed-carry permit issued by another state, and the news from earlier this year that the state parole board has increased the number of criminals it has let out of jail in recent months.
"I think people are saying, ‘Hey, if you're going to let criminals out and not protect us, we're going to have to protect ourselves,'" Stephens said.
Sen. John Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat and author of SB34, said that though he does not think concealed weapons add to anyone's safety, he is not alarmed at the rise in permits. Because the state keeps a database of permit holders and can revoke a permit quickly if the person commits a crime, the general public is not at risk, the former Fountain police chief said.
El Paso also led the state in the number of permits denied (44) and revoked (49) last year. Thirty-four of the 49 revocations occurred because the permit holder was arrested, but Maketa said he does not believe any of those arrests were connected to the improper use of a weapon.
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Yup, except you cannot protect yourself (with arms) in Federal Buildings, State Buildings, Schools, National and public parks, and anywhere the owner has banned gun carry. Really boils down to permits are a feel good thing with limited effectiveness. Yes, I am a permit holder and plan to keep it in effect to the grave. But, perhaps the old adage "Better judged by 12 than carried by 6" applies here.
At least one Sheriff has come out of the closet & spoken his thoughts on the record about Legally Armed Citizens. If more law enforcement people would speak on this issue, maby more of the general population will understand the need for self-protection, and that the people who are authorized to carry are not nuts!
This article hit the nail on the head! The facts speak for themselves, we just need more folks talking about the facts everywhere and among all kinds of people. As I like to say, if guns are the problem to congressmen, senators and presidential candidates, let them lead by example and disarm their bodyguards, and forbid them to wear jackets, so we can see that they are not armed, and then they shouldn't hold their breath waiting for me to follow their lead, because I know the facts that are exemplified by this great article.
Bob Carpenter Legally armed in Arkansas and other states
My Wife and I applied for our permits about one month ago, but haven't received them yet. In NC it takes from 30-90 days to get it approved. When questioned about how many permit holders are in this rural county (Yadkin Co, NC), the Sheriff replied, "several hundred at least". He also told me that he wishes everyone had a permit. That way, he (or anyone else) would know what you're dealing with when approaching someone on the street. Since I'm applying for one, I was glad to hear that he is on "our" side.
Good article. But the law enforcement community needs to reach for the next level and lobby for repealing or changing the current laws to allow concealed carry everywhere, on campus, parks, restraunts, etc. Until this happens, the sick and demented souls that circulate among us will continue to prey on the persons that congregate unprotected inthe "gun free zones" of our schools and other public gatherings. I for one have become a "lawbreaker/criminal" for the fact that I no longer leave my weapon in the car or home when I go out to eat or to the mall, etc. I will continue to do this, rather than being caught not being able to protect myself and my family. I don't know of any worse feeling than the feeling I would have if I was placed in the situation of being able to stop an atack and save innocent lives and then NOT have my weapon to accomplish this.