Summit County concealed permits increase

Firearm sales higher than ever as gun enthusiasts fear legislation

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Concealed weapons permits in Summit County

- 2009 (to date) - 62 issued, 60 pending approval

- 2008 - 107 issued, two denied and three revoked

- 2007 - 49 issued, three revoked

- 2006 - 27 issued, two revoked

Information provided by Summit County Sheriff's Office

— Local firearms sales and concealed weapons permits are higher than ever as gun enthusiasts fear Democratic legislation restricting the Second Amendment.

"All our firearms dealers we deal with have been pretty much out of stock since the day after the election," said Shelly Malish, co-owner of Kremmling Precision Ordinance, which sells guns in Kremmling.

The number of concealed weapons permits issued in Summit County has doubled every year since 2006.

By late April, the number of applications - at 122 - already has surpassed those for all of 2008, according to Summit County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff John Minor said several people have told him they have a "very strong fear" federal legislation will be passed restricting their rights.

"The overwhelming response I get is fear of gun regulation with this administration," he said.

And the applicants are "across the spectrum."

"We're seeing more and more women apply for a concealed carry, a lot of husbands and wives," Minor said.

U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., introduced the Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009 in January, and it was referred to a House subcommittee in February.

The legislation would require licenses for U.S. residents to possess firearms.

It also has been interpreted to require all gun owners with children to store their guns in safes.

Andy Malish, Shelly's husband, said he thinks that legislation eliminating - or severely limiting - the right to bear arms ultimately will get passed.

"I see it happening in my lifetime; it's inevitable," he said.

Meanwhile gun enthusiasts are scrambling.

ArmaLite, which deals such rifles as AR-15s and M-16s, has reported being as much as 18 months behind on demand, Andy Malish said.

The prices are steady, but retailers have been increasing them because of the lack of availability. Many folks are turning to online sources such as gunbrokers.com, a classifieds site that uses dealers such as the Malishes for background checks.

Andy Malish said a standard AR-15 on the site cost about $1,500 before the election but that they're going for no less than $2,500 these days "because they're just not available."

Ammunition has declined in availability and increased in price, as well.

Minor said prices for his office have increased by as much as 200 to 300 percent.

"We're having a heck of a time getting a hold of ammunition," he said. "One of the few parts of our budgets that increased was ammunition costs this year."

Matt Bayley, who owns On Target Gun Sales in Vail, said he sees two causes for the increase in demand for guns and ammo: violence stemming from the economic recession and the political leanings of the nation's leaders.

He said the recession seems to be causing people to become more self-sufficient, regarding everything from home repairs to protection.

Bayley's business involves training people for close-quarters combat, concealed weapons certification and other services.

As a firearms salesman he, too, has noticed a lack of supply to meet increasing demands.

"There's pressure on the market," he said. "That's all there is to it."

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