Colorado issuing fewer concealed-weapon permits
DENVER -The number of concealed-weapon permits issued in Colorado every year has fallen by a third since 2003, the year Colorado law was changed to made permit policies uniform statewide.In 2003, 9,522 licenses were issued. It was 6,860 in 2004 and 6,279 permits last year.”It was on the front page of every newspaper (in 2003), so it was no surprise that it dawned on people that, ‘Hey, I can carry a gun now if I go out and get the permit,’ ” said Dudley Brown, director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.Permits are issued by county sheriffs, and under the old system, they had wide discretion. Some had liberal rules while others had strict ones.The new law sets the same rules for every jurisdiction. Sheriffs are required to issue permits to any legal resident who is 21, isn’t subject to a restraining order, has no felony convictions, doesn’t have a drug or alcohol habit and doesn’t commit perjury on the application.Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado State Shooting Association, called the law “an unqualified success.””We have people who previously were unable to get concealed-carry permits who are now getting them in jurisdictions that didn’t issue them under the discretionary law,” Fabian said.Ted Pascoe, who lobbied against the 2003 bill, said it wasn’t good policy.”I just don’t think, if we were to give this a great deal of thought, that we would want people to just be able to carry a gun around virtually anywhere – the idea that you could be in the theater and the person sitting next to you could have it pointed right at you,” he said.Diana Madarieta, western director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said research on the effects of concealed-weapon laws on crime is scarce.”I don’t believe having a lot of concealed-carry weapons increases crimes, and I don’t believe it reduces crime,” she said.”Someone who carries a concealed weapon is no more likely or less likely to commit crime than you or I, or someone who doesn’t normally commit crime,” Madarieta said.Forty states allow residents to carry concealed weapons.
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