Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee reports a significant increase in the number of applications for concealed weapons permits since the beginning of the year. The activity is spurred by discussions taking place at both the state and federal level concerning possible restrictions on the purchase of certain types of firearms and ammunition.
With the mass shootings at the Century Theatre in Aurora and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, McKee said it's understandable people are searching for the underlying cause. But McKee said he strongly believes firearm legislation will not make communities safer. Instead, the legislation infringes on the rights of law-abiding citizens and creates obstacles that are no deterrent to criminals.
The County Sheriffs of Colorado believe the focus should turn to mental health. Better funding for screening, treatment, education and government-supported mental health facilities should be addressed, not gun control.
As president of that organization, McKee is leading the fight against any state legislation that could limit Second Amendment rights. He is prepared to attend and testify at Senate hearings — if time allows. Legislation moved so quickly through the House there was little time to respond, he said.
The County Sheriffs of Colorado are united in the fight, he said. They recently outlined their position paper, summarizing their stance with this comment: "The County Sheriffs of Colorado know firsthand that strict gun control laws do not deter criminals from getting firearms illegally and committing crimes. Rather, they hurt law-abiding citizens who may be left unprotected because law enforcement cannot arrive in time to stop a criminal's bullet once he has pulled the trigger."
While others are riding a wave of emotion, the county sheriffs believe all gun control bills should be tabled for at least a year "to encourage rational deliberations before any decisions are made."
The position paper highlights the following topics:
Assault weapons ban: The County Sheriffs of Colorado opposes a ban on so-called "assault weapons" because of its vague definition. What many call "assault weapons" are actually semi-automatic rifles that operate the same as any other rifle in that they fire one bullet for every one time a trigger is pulled. Semi-automatic rifles are not machine guns. They do not spray fire like a machine gun.
Ban on private sales of firearms: The County Sheriffs of Colorado are adamantly opposed to any restriction on a person's right to privately sell firearms to another person. Private sales to friends, neighbors or loved ones would become illegal, effectively turning law-abiding citizens into criminals. Forcing citizens to sell firearms through a federal firearms dealer is the first step towards gun registration and a national
database of gun owners.
Ban on high capacity magazines: Law enforcement officers carry high capacity magazines because there are times when 10 rounds might not be enough to end the threat. County Sheriffs of Colorado believe the same should hold true for civilians who wish to defend themselves.
Ban on bulk purchases of ammunition: Federal law already prohibits possession of ammunition by convicted felons, controlled substance users, anyone subject to a domestic violence restraining order, and anyone under the age of 18 (long gun) and 21 (handgun). Even if you can't buy in bulk, you could still buy multiple boxes of smaller quantities.
Mandatory entry into a statewide database for concealed carry permit holders: County Sheriffs of Colorado oppose any mandate for a statewide database for concealed carry permit holders. That information should remain in the local records belonging to each individual sheriff.
Persons seeking concealed weapons permits in Delta County must own a business or property in Delta County and must present a Colorado driver's license. They must attend a firearms training course, be fingerprinted and pass background checks both locally and nationally.
McKee says 319 concealed weapons permits were issued in 2012; only one permit was denied, and that was because the applicant had a prior felony conviction. The number of applications has been on a steady increase for the last several years, he added.
Those seeking permits are never asked "why." Law-abiding citizens own firearms for a variety of reasons, McKee said, including self-protection, hunting, competition or recreation, but their reasons are their own. They do not owe an explanation to government, he said.
There does seem to be some confusion about when permits are required, he said. You do not need a concealed weapon permit to carry a firearm in your vehicle, whether you keep it in the glove compartment or under your seat. Concealed weapons permits are only required if you plan to carry a firearm on your person, in a manner in which the average person would not be aware you are carrying a firearm.blog comments powered by Disqus