Elk River Guns owner Ken Constantine on Thursday discusses the guns he sells for tactical uses and home defense.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Elk River Guns owner Ken Constantine on Thursday discusses the guns he sells for tactical uses and home defense.

Background check backlog impacts would-be gun buyers in Routt County


— Those purchasing a gun in Routt County could have to wait as long as seven days to take their new firearm home with them because of a backlog the state is experiencing with background checks.

Officials and a local gun store owner said the delay is a result of a sharp increase in demand for guns fueled by fears that certain guns could be banned in the future.

At Elk River Guns in Steamboat Springs, owner Ken Constantine held a stack of 30 background checks that still are pending with the state. He said the Colorado Bureau of Investigation had more than 11,091 checks pending as of Thursday afternoon, and the wait time is estimated to be seven days.

“It’s just the way it is,” Constantine said. “You can’t be frustrated by something you have no control over.”

But some customers are frustrated, Constantine said, and some people have chosen not to purchase from him because of the delay.

Before the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in Connecticut, Coloradans purchasing a gun from a dealer typically had to wait between 10 minutes and an hour for the mandatory background check to be completed. Constantine said that business picked up at his gun store in the days after the tragedy. He sold out of AR-15 class semiautomatic rifles in two days. In addition to home defense, Constantine said the weapon is used by people for competition shooting and small-game hunting.

Assault rifles in particular have come under the spotlight after President Barack Obama suggested renewed efforts to introduce new gun control measures in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.

Constantine noted that his store in Dream Island already was doing record business before the Newtown massacre. That business further increased in the weeks since, with there sometimes being as many as a dozen customers in his shop at one time. Things now are starting to quiet down, he said, partly the result of inventories of AR-15 rifles being depleted nationwide.

As for the background checks of would-be gun buyers, CBI officials told The Denver Post this week they have expanded their hours from 6 a.m. to midnight. CBI spokeswoman Susan Medina told the Post that 3,000 checks are being submitted each day.

“These are unprecedented numbers,” she said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com


rhys jones 4 years, 3 months ago

I commented to Rob Douglas' article, extolling the virtues of an undisputed Browning rifle, which is fine for offensive purposes -- but if you are really concerned about defense, a shotgun is a much more practical choice. "Assault" weapons, along with handguns, are inferior options for any legitimate use, and end up causing more problems than they ever cure. While the loonies might have big magazines, one shot will bring them down.


mark hartless 4 years, 3 months ago

Many (not all) of the "loonies" are quite familliar with the concept of medium range tactics (300-700 meters). Just look at how sales of bolt-action .50 calibre weapons and ammo have spiked in the last decade.

It IS sad that so many people look at a gun's cosmetics as a sign of its value, versatility and effectiveness, when the reality is Rhys is exactly right about this: a remington 870 (short barrel 12 ga shotgun) is probably the best home protection one can have and it's price is WAY more acceptable than AR's. And while Leopold glass is not cheap it's quality is very hard to beat.


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 3 months ago

Defensive gun deployments number upwards of 2.5 million annually. I haven't been able to find the breakdown of what kinds of weapons are used in those instances, but I'll wager the vast majority of them were “inferior” handguns. I documented two such episodes in the Rob Douglas thread (which render me & my dad "illegitimate" according to Rhys). Here are a few more:

Pearl, Miss: scumbag shoots 7 people at a high school. Principal runs to his car for his inferior .45, halts the attack & detains the shooter for the cops.

Salt Lake City: scumbag stabs two people outside a grocery store. A patron with a CCW permit pulls his inferior handgun, stops the attack and detains the assailant for the cops.

Grundy, VA: disgruntled student shoots three people at a law school. A couple of other students run to their cars for their inferior handguns, stop the attack & hold him for the cops.

Richmond, VA: apartment resident taking out his trash is accosted by a shotgun-welding assailant. The resident shoots the perp with his inferior handgun.

Greenville, NC: two armed robbers attempt to take off an internet cafe. Employee fires twice with his inferior handgun and the robbers flee.

Orem, UT: junkie tries to break into a church. The pastor tries to talk him down. As the junkie becomes more belligerent, the pastor pulls his inferior handgun and detains him for the police.

"Illegitimate", by Rhys' eyes.

It's worth noting that in the instances of the school shootings cited, both campuses were gun free zones, obliging the good guys to keep their guns off site. Wouldn't you prefer that those inferior handguns had been instantly available? If not, why?


mark hartless 4 years, 2 months ago

Because liberals live by feelings and not by facts, Brian.


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 2 months ago

Chicago police confirm 'tragic number' of 500 homicides http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-chicago-2012-homicide-toll-20121228,0,5456581.story?track=rss

Not a chance. This is clearly a media conspiracy. Criminals are not allowed to possess guns in Chicago. Neither is anyone else. Which only leaves the police. So either the Chicago Tribune is lying, or the police have instituted death squads to exterminate undesirables in the Windy City.

"Largely contributing to the spike was the unusual number of homicides that occurred during the early part of the year, when the city experienced unseasonable warmth. "

The next legislative initiative should be obvious: BAN THE SUN.


rhys jones 4 years, 2 months ago

Hear about Colt's new revolver called "The Legislator"? It doesn't work, and you can't fire it.


Scott Wedel 4 years, 2 months ago

Brian, So are you arguing that Chicago has ineffective gun control undermined by neighboring cities that sell guns to Chicago residents and have insufficient penalties to discourage Chicago residents from owning prohibited guns?

New York City has seen a decrease in homicides and has stricter gun control laws that they actively prosecute as Plexico Burriss discovered.

So are you arguing that Chicago needs to become more like New York City on gun control and enforcing gun control?

Also, your number of defensive gun uses would appear to be from a poll that asked for such uses over the "past five years". So it appears to be a five year number, but it is still substantial. Though, that number raises other questions because crime statistics suggest that gun owners are more likely to be the victim of crimes. So are some owning guns because they live in more dangerous places or because they live more dangerous lives or is it a combination of factors? Drug users and drunks are much likely to both commit and be the victim of crimes.

I think it is clear that neither banning guns or owning guns is the simple solution to violence. Gun control as part of a strong anti-crime program has had statistically significant effects in cities.

Assault weapons with large capacity magazines would seem to be an unnecessary risk to the public since it is extremely unlikely to require dozens of shots to legally protect yourself or your house, but dozens of shots have been part of recent massacres.


rhys jones 4 years, 2 months ago

Wake up yourself, Tom. You're thinking local, when the problem is global. The Constitution is but a piece of paper whose days are numbered. How do you think the Chinese, Saudis, and Japanese are going to react, when we can't even pay the interest on our loans from them? This country still spends almost twice as much as it takes in. How long until the bubble pops? You may scream unemployment sucks, and I will respond so do stupid wars.

Most of the money you spend at Walmart goes straight to China, then again when you replace the crap that broke. Fruit-of-the Loom, even Coleman -- ergo American brands, now made in China. The Coleman porta-shower I bought last summer sprung a fatal leak, before I even used it. I will never buy either of those brands again.

The Federal Reserve plan is working: Globalization, free trade, borders dissolve as we become one big happy world, all soon to have accounts in Federal Reserve banks. We'll have to -- money will be worthless, a thing of the past. First they will devalue the dollar -- plans already underway for that, new currency on the horizon -- then even that will be passe, as everyone will be marked with their own unique account number -- test cases already underway there too. They will be able to track everyone, at all times.

The Chinese will want their finger in the pie, along with all our other creditors. The Constitution will become a fond memory, and you want to talk about a police state? Just wait. They can already read your newspaper from outer space, and hear through your walls. Cameras on every corner -- you have no idea the monster we bred and feed.


rhys jones 4 years, 2 months ago

Tom -- The "globalists" are the Federal Reserve. They act in their own interest, and are a power unto themselves, immune from any oversight. Not the FBI, nor the CIA, the army, even the President himself, can attend their board meetings or dictate their policy. Their headquarters are fortresses, where the decisions are made to kill American kids to fatten their own bank accounts.

In concert with the Federal government -- the puppets we vote for -- their surveillance and enforcement capabilities are truly awesome. The machine gets more powerful every day, with no end in sight. Think they want you having assault weapons? You watch -- not only is our Constitution in peril, but our very country. You'll have a whole platoon on your property, saying "Give us those weapons which were 'stolen' or die right here, right now."

Glad we could agree on something. Feed the birds!!


Brian Kotowski 4 years, 2 months ago

An option for home invasion: call the cops and hope for the best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Jd3vWsa4ags

Or, you can equip yourself to protect the safety of you and yours. Please note that Mrs. Jackson is on the phone for 10 minutes pleading with the 911 dispatcher to send help so she wouldn't have to do the unthinkable. But when seconds count, the police are minutes (or more) away. In the end, the authorities couldn't help. Her son the cop was powerless. Her big protective dogs didn't deter the intruder. If you & yours choose to live as prey, more power to you. If you wish to impose that choice upon me, I have a two-syllable reply which decorum prevents me from disclosing to you here.


rhys jones 4 years, 2 months ago

Heck, if I lived in Denver and I couldn't move my body, I'd want a shotgun nearby. I've lived in Denver before. And my body still works.


rhys jones 4 years, 2 months ago

PS -- When I DID live in Denver, the '94 was loaded and ready nearby -- and while it held quite a few rounds, ya had to crank the damn thing before you could shoot the next guy.


rhys jones 4 years, 2 months ago

Not only THAT -- but sometimes I even had to reload, in order to clean out the rest of the gang, spoiling an otherwise great night.


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