Permitting process impacted under new weapons laws

A training standard for concealed weapons permits accepted by the Moffat County Sheriff's Office won't be valid under new state laws effective later this month.

"The biggest change is the new process will not recognize hunters' education cards as a minimum standard," said Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead. "It will impact our (concealed weapons permit) holders, but they'll only need to see us when their current permit expires."

The department now issues two-year permits for successful applicants, who now must pay $103 in processing and background check fees. Two letters of reference are also required, a picture I.D. and a hunters' education card.

But the cards -- proof of completing the courses covering basic hunting ethics and safety principles, firearms identification and operation -- are shunned under the new laws in favor of certificates showing completion of a "handgun safety class" within 10 years of the application.

The changes become law May 18.

"We haven't decided whether we're going to offer safety classes," Grinstead said. "We know how taxed we are right now."

Such instruction is offered privately through National Rifle Association certified instructors in Craig.

The new laws offer four other ways to meet training criteria:

  • Proof of honorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces reflecting pistol qualifications obtained within 10 years of the application.
  • Proof of honorable discharge from military service three years prior to the application.
  • Evidence the applicant is a certified firearms instructor.
  • Evidence of experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competitions or current military service.

Permits under the changes would be issued for five-year periods, and include $152 in processing and background check fees.

Grinstead said the department had chosen to issue and renew two-year permits to keep closer tabs on any permit holders' run-ins with law enforcement.

"It was just a better way of staying on top of things, the sheriff said. "That concern is always going to be there, but CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation) has set up a process of tracking permit holders,"

If contacted by law enforcement, a permit holders' status would be noted when authorities run national or state crime database checks, he said.

Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said his office had referred all permit applications to Grinstead.

"The sheriff's office had a good system in place for issuing them and we felt no need to recreate that," Vanatta said.

The sheriff's department has issued 111 permits to Moffat County residents, 12 application are pending while two permits have been revoked.

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

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