Weapons law change brings flurry of applications

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New state laws governing concealed weapons brought a flood of applicants to the Moffat County Sheriff's office prior to the changes going into effect last month.

"It's unfortunate we had to get the Legislature to get it done, but now we have the same standards statewide," said Sheriff Buddy Grinstead, who said he supports the changes.

The laws, which went into effect May 18, give Colorado sheriffs exclusive authority to issue the permits.

Annette Gianinetti, administrative assistant with the sheriff's office, said about 20 applications for renewed permits were processed in the weeks leading up to the

changes.

This, as key standards for firearm training recognized by the department were invalidated by the new laws.

Otherwise, interest in concealed firearms permits has been normal since May 18, Gianinetti said.

"It goes in spurts, particularly when people want to travel on vacations or during hunting season," she said. "With the (media) attention, most people wanted to make sure their permit was renewed."

Grinstead said the laws' new training standard holds the biggest impact for Moffat County. The sheriff's office previously required two letters of reference, a picture I.D. and a hunter's education card as part of the application process.

But the cards -- which mark completion of courses covering basic hunting ethics, safety, and firearms identification -- are no longer recognized under the new laws.

Applicants instead must complete handgun safety classes, offered by certified instructors, within 10 years of applying for the courses. Exemptions to this requirement are outlined for certain current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.

"It makes a lot of sense to have the training," said Laura

Tyler, a Craig resident and

National Rifle Association certified firearm instructor.

Tyler said about 20 residents are on a waiting list for classes, which will begin in next few weeks. Dates for the instruction haven't been set, she said.

"Our class provides beginners information, but it's up to the individuals to take further firearms instruction on their own," Tyler said.

Fees run $45 per person for the courses, which is covered over four nights of instruction and four hours of live-fire training.

The courses teach basic firearm use and safety, as well as safe storage of the weapons at home, she said.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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