BRIGHTON, Colo. - A surge in people seeking permits to carry a concealed gun has applicants lining up before dawn at the Adams County Sheriff's Office.
Weary gun owners tell 7NEWS they're tired of waiting for hours over several days, only to lose out on getting the state-regulated permit.
7NEWS reporter Tyler Lopez dug into what's causing the backlog.
At the Adams County Sheriff's Office in Brighton on Tuesday, three white notices posted on the front door said the 20 person-a-day limit for conceal carry applications had been met for the day.
The problem is officials only take those applications in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m.
So, if you want to be one of those 20 lucky applications, you have to line up in the middle of the night just to get a number to try to get an application to get a permit.
"If you want it, you have to do it," said permit applicant Larry Miller with a been-there-done-that grin.
Despite rising before the rooster, Miller says a few dozen people beat him to the Sheriff's Office between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. to get a numbers 1 through 20.
"Believe it or not, my number was 30," Miller said. "Quite a few people didn't have the right paper work, so they got sent home. So, I got lucky."
For the past month, even after completing the required shooting class certificate and application form, some gun owners say they've trekked to the office three times -- striking out each time.
"If they did it by appointment or something like that, even that would probably be a little bit frustrating because it would be so far out (in the future)," said Shawn Praudt, who missed out -- again -- on Tuesday.
"But at least you'd know you don't have to take the time out of your day and show up and then go home empty-handed," Praudt said.
Sheriff's officials know they've got a problem.
"Frankly, that's the issue is the staffing," said Sgt. Paul Gregory, spokesman for the Adams County Sheriff's Office. He said the have three staffers -- a detective, deputy and technician processing the permit applications.
"It's not impossible," Gregory said.
Since the Newtown, Conn., school massacre on Dec. 14, there's been a nationwide surge in gun purchases by people concerned about federal or state gun-control legislation.
People flocking to buy guns has created a backlog for state background checks of more than a week at the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which responded by adding staff and having employees working overtime.
"Why isn't this something that you've anticipated?" Lopez asked Gregory.
"We couldn't foresee this demand," the sheriff's spokesman replied. "We're looking at other options and we're going to make other options work for people, because, again, our ultimate goal is to meet the demand."
7NEWS spoke with Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, who said his office is also seeing a surge in demand for conceal carry permits.
But Robison said his office has avoided a backlog because he added staffing and extended hours to keep up with applications.
Adams County officials don't want to add personnel. Instead, in the next week or two, they will launch a new online appointment system so applicants don't have to get there before sunrise.