Boulder sheriff, lawmakers oppose House concealed handgun bill

Pelle: Permits allow ‘local oversight and intervention’
By Heath Urie Camera Staff Writer
Posted: 03/12/2011 11:51:36 PM MST

HB 1205 - The police say no to it

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle and a host of Boulder-area state lawmakers are opposing legislation that would allow eligible residents to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.

Pelle said that House Bill 1205, sponsored by Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, would remove the authority of local sheriffs to deny concealed handgun permits to people based on documented evidence that someone is a danger to themselves or others.

In its current form, the bill would allow anyone who can legally own a handgun to carry the weapon concealed without having to undergo a background check — since they already have to pass one before they can purchase the gun. Holbert has also said he believes the fees required for a permit are the equivalent of an unnecessary tax.

The bill would not otherwise change who can legally carry a concealed handgun. People with mental impairments or restraining orders against them would continue to be prohibited from carrying concealed handguns.

Boulder County concealed handguns, by the numbers

3,275 — Number of active permits (as of Dec. 31, 2010)

748 — Number of applications received in 2010

650 — Number of permits issued in 2010

10 — Number of permits revoked in 2010

5 — Number of emergency permits issued in 2010

Source: Boulder County Sheriff’s Office

But Pelle said allowing local sheriffs the discretion to review each permit application prevents some people from carrying a concealed handgun who otherwise would be allowed to under the House bill.

“I believe the current system of issuing permits at least allows some level of local oversight and intervention in cases where people should not be carrying a concealed weapon, and should not be abandoned,” Pelle said.

As of 2010, there were 3,275 people in Boulder County with a permit for a concealed handgun.

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