Much like the rest of the country, Colorado is seeing a rise in the number of new gun owners and those requesting a concealed weapons permit. According to the Denver Post, the number of new applicants is sizable enough to persuade local authorities to hire new staff and add on extra hours to existing employees’ shifts to deal with the increase. From January to June in 2013, over 31,500 background checks were conducted in the state for concealed carry permit applications, compared to only 16,886 processed during the same period in 2012–amounting to a staggering 87 percent jump.
Earlier this year Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed a pivotal package of gun control bills into law. The move brought Colorado alongside a handful of other states that enacted similar gun control measures. The bills were passed despite considerable public outcry from gun rights advocates in the historically gun-friendly state. Many believed that if gun control bills were passed in Colorado, it could set a precedent for the rest of the country.
“The bottom line is, people are frightened. They’ve been pounded with the message that Obama is going to take your guns away,” former state Senator Gary Lindstrom told MSN News. “Every time there is a shooting, there is a surge in people buying guns. They’re being told you need to have a concealed carry permit because the end is near.”
With the current boom in demand and the removal of online-only certification, businesses offering concealed carry classes are dealing with a high number of new students.
“More people are realizing they are responsible for their own protection,” said Richard Abramson, who runs the Centennial Gun Club. “We have 500 students a month going through the courses.”
Most of the students are first-time gun owners and a large proportion are women. This trend agrees with a survey recently conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which found that gun retailers are reporting more first-time gun buyers and more female customers.
The new state laws mandated a 15-round magazine limit, an overhaul of the state’s background check system, and prohibited online concealed carry training. Undeterred, gun owners flooded the state with permit applications.
Some of Colorado’s new gun laws went into effect July 1. A lawsuit from 53 Colorado sheriffs and gun accessories manufacturer Magpul is attempting to reverse the newly enforced laws.