Concealed carry, Background checks on the rise in GC and CO
Ryan Summerlin January 4, 2013
After the Connecticut school shooting on Dec. 14, stricter regulations on firearms have been a hot topic both in Colorado and the country as whole.
In the past and during the lead-up to last year’s election in particular, fears of stricter regulations on firearms fueled the purchase of guns and ammunition.
Another large jump related to gun ownership happening closer to home is the number of concealed-carry permit applications submitted to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
As of Dec. 26, 128 concealed handgun permits had been submitted to the Sheriff’s Office during 2012, compared to 83 applications submitted in 2011, a more than 50 percent increase.
Individuals who apply for a concealed handgun permit are required to attend a class taught by a certified instructor and then must submit a application to the Sheriff’s Office.
Once the Sheriff’s Office receives the application they obtain the applicant’s fingerprints, which are then checked against a state and federal database containing information about known criminals.
The process of checking the applicants’ information against the state and federal database takes around two weeks, according to Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson.
“Our wait time has not changed,” Johnson said.
Concealed carry permits are sometimes transferable from state to state, but it is recommended that an individual check to make sure his or her permit is valid in Colorado before carrying a concealed weapon in the state if they hold a permit from another state.
Instacheck, the system used by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete background checks on individuals who purchase firearms, has become overloaded with requests for background checks as gun sales in Colorado skyrocketed during December.
The average processing time for a background check for the year of 2012 before December was reported as 3 minutes, 31 seconds. The current wait time to complete a background check is eight days, according to CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina.
Black Friday marked a very large day for background checks with over 4,000 checks being submitted through the system.
“We knew Black Friday would be busy this year,” Medina said. “We expected it to be a big day.”
What CBI did not expect was the continued increase in background check requests. “We are seeing these elevated numbers day in and day out,” she said.
CBI has brought in extra staff from other working units, extended their hours from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. to 5 a.m.-11 p.m., and has requested $500,000 in additional funds, which would be used towards technology and additional staff.
“We don’t know exactly what is causing the increase,” Medina said.