Concealed-carry Permit Requests Soar In Larimer County, Colorado


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The number of people applying for concealed-carry weapons permits in Larimer County rose dramatically in the final months of 2008, starting one month before the nation elected Barack Obama as president.

The Larimer County Sheriff's Office received an average of 70 applications a month through the first nine months of 2008, then saw that spike to 107, 137 and 155 in October, November and December, respectively. There have been 98 applications submitted this month.

Few of those applications have been denied, officials said.

Sheriff's Office permit coordinator Angie Corp said several people who applied said they feared the new president would strengthen anti-gun legislation.

A local Republican official said it's a valid concern.

"Obama's voting record, despite what he said in his campaign, which is that he's a proponent of the Second Amendment, is very anti-personal ownership of firearms," said Larimer County Republican Party Chairman Kirk Brush. "Sure it's a rational concern."

Brush's Democratic counterpart disputed that notion.

"If you look at his agenda and what we as a country have on our plate right now, gun rights and dealing with people who are advocates for handgun control (isn't) even on the list," said Larimer County Democratic Party Chairman Adam Bowen. "There are a very small number of people who don't want to see (Obama) succeed, and those folks are going to say whatever they want to say, I guess."

Obama in 2005 voted for restrictions on rifle ammunition "designed or marketed" to be armor-piercing; and in a debate, Obama, answering a question about Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban, said "just because you have an individual right does not mean that the state or local government can't constrain the exercise of that right."

He also voted in 2006 for an amendment prohibiting the government from confiscating firearms from private citizens, particularly during times of crisis or emergency. An Obama campaign fact sheet said Obama "believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms. He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns."

The Sheriff's Office received 248 concealed-carry permits in 2006, 467 in 2007, and 1,025 in 2008.

Despite the increase in applications, there has been no considerable hike in permit denials in the last three years.

"You've got to realize that what we're doing is issuing permits to law-abiding citizens," Sheriff Jim Alderden said. "More law-abiding citizens owning guns enhances public safety, it doesn't denigrate it."

According to Corp, applicants are issued a firearms permit if they meet the following requirements:

> Completion of firearms training within the last 10 years;

> No felony or assault convictions on their record;

> No history of domestic or child abuse;

> No history of drug or alcohol abuse.

Once the application is submitted, it is sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, which has 90 days to conduct a background check and approve or deny the request. Corp said responses in Larimer County have been averaging about 60 days since the spike in applications.

CBI spokesman Lance Clem said requests for concealed-carry-permit background checks have nearly doubled from 2007 to 2008.

The spike doesn't come without at least a nudge from some pro-gun organizations. The Northern Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, for example, calls Obama the most anti-gun president in American history in a statement on its Web site.

"With the gains made by anti-gunners in Congress and the Colorado legislature, there is no question that gun owners are facing battles unlike any we have seen before," the site says.

CSU political science professor John Straayer said he has seen nothing on the political landscape in the last year to suggest a need to fear new gun legislation. He also said pro-gun sites pushing the notion that Obama might threaten gun rights could be a big part of the fear that has been created.

"It's not the drinking water that's causing this," he said. "It's got to be some kind of communication from pro-gun groups."

BY NATE TAYLOR • NateTaylor • January 25, 2009

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"You've got to realize that what we're doing is issuing permits to law-abiding citizens," Sheriff Jim Alderden said. "More law-abiding citizens owning guns enhances public safety, it doesn't denigrate it."

I couldn't agree more!

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