The political talk of stricter gun controls laws and fear following mass shootings, have people heading to concealed carry classes in record numbers.
So far this year, the number of applications to carry a concealed weapon in Colorado has nearly doubled compared to the same time period last year.
Between January and May of this year, the number of applications recorded across the state was 31, 901, up from 16, 574 submitted during the same time period last year, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the agency responsible for conducting background checks.
“Any time politicians start talking about guns, people get worried that their Second Amendment rights might be infringed,” said U.S. Law Shield Independent Firearms Program Attorney Doug Richards. “They’re doing this to beat the rush.”
“People want to have the right to defend themselves,” Richards added.
This, however, is not the first time permit applications have spiked. According to the CBI numbers, in July 2013, as a set of gun control laws were going into effect, more than 14,000 people applied for concealed-carry permits.
Reviewing CBI records that date back to 2008 indicate this is the first time that there has been five consecutive months of more than 5,000 applications received.
It’s not just the CBI that is seeing an increased workload. For example, the Adams County sheriff’s office normally processed applications just two days a week, but in March they had to add a third day to the schedule, just to be able to process 120 additional requests per week plus renewals because of the demand.
In Adams County, the office has processed 1,349 new requests and 320 renewals between January and May, up from 785 new requests with 371 renewals for the same time in 2015. In Douglas County, staff members processed 1,845 permit applications this year through the end of last week, up from 921 in the same time last year.
Riley Bowman, a certified instructor, always asks students why they want to carry a concealed weapon, and since the first of the year, the responses have been because of the Paris attacks, or the San Bernadino shooting.
Bowman said, “Almost unanimously for a lot of people what was on their mind was these horrific attacks that were all over the news and that happened really in ways that people don’t expect.”
And following the Orlando attack, the number of people signing up for his training classes has more than doubled.
They think if they or someone had a gun they might have had the opportunity to take out the shooter to prevent as many deaths or to at least protect themselves.
While concealed carry permit applications are up sharply, gun sales are seeing a modest increase. CBI data on gun sales show only a slight increase compared with last year. In May there were 25,450 recorded firearm transactions in Colorado, up from 25,000 in May 2015.