Shoot­ings spurred a spike in per­mits for con­cealed carry

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By The Gazette

Last year’s fa­tal shoot­ings on Hal­loween and Black Fri­day pushed this year’s num­ber of con­cealed carry per­mits is­sued in El Paso County to nearly double that of 2015.

Through Novem­ber, the El Paso County Sher­iff ’s Of­fice ap­proved 7,100 new con­cealed carry hand­gun per­mits, com­pared with 4,227 through Novem­ber of last year.

Driv­ing the sharp spike was two fourth-quar­ter shoot­ings in 2015 that re­sulted in the ran­dom deaths of six peo­ple in­clud­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer, said sher­iff’s of­fice spokes­woman Natalie Sosa.

“It’s the only thing we can pur­port,” she said. “We no­ticed an in­crease af­ter those two in­ci­dents.”

New ap­provals reached a monthly high in Jan­uary of 1,157 coun­ty­wide, which would make sense, Sosa said, since it takes a lit­tle time for ap­pli­cants to com­plete the process.

The sher­iff’s of­fice also re­newed 3,086 per­mits through Novem­ber, com­pared with 2,157 for the first 11 months of last year. Per­mits are up for re­newal ev­ery five years.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from lo­cal gun shops and shooting ranges aren’t sur­prised about this year’s surge.

“The world is a dan­ger­ous place,” said Kim Shugart, an owner and spokesman for Mag­num Shooting Cen­ter in Colorado Springs. “Hor­ri­ble things hap­pen, and peo­ple want to be able to pro­tect them­selves and their loved ones.”

The in­dus­try has bur­geoned over the last decade, he said.

“So­ci­ety is more scary than it’s ever been,” Shugart said, “It’s a positive thing that peo­ple are tak­ing an in­ter­est in want­ing to pro­tect them­selves, their fam­i­lies, their com­mu­ni­ties, but they must be prop­erly trained.”

The num­ber of peo­ple ob­tain­ing con­cealed carry per­mits has been strong for years in the Repub­li­can­dom­i­nant El Paso County, which has led the state for sev­eral years.

El Paso County, Colorado’s sec­ond-most pop­u­lous county af­ter the city and county of Den­ver, re­ceived a to­tal of 7,527 ap­pli­ca­tions in 2015. Den­ver County han­dled 1,752. Jef­fer­son County was sec­ond, with 4,965 ap­pli­ca­tions.

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