ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. – The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office is experiencing a growing demand for concealed handgun permits (CHP). A spokesperson for the department says on average 50 to 60 people stand in line up to two hours before the doors open.
The sheriff’s office processes 35 permits per day on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays beginning at 7 a.m. On Thursday, people began lining up just after 5 a.m.
Nick Stanfield arrived too late the first time, so he woke up at 5 a.m. on Thursday and was in line by 5:40 a.m. to apply for his CHP. He was the 16th person in line and by 6:30 a.m., the 35-person permit threshold was met.
Levi Ortiz says the third time was a charm. He arrived too late the first two times to renew his CHP.
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy John Bartmann says they are experiencing a greater demand for CHPs. He says on Mondays and Fridays, two full-time investigators spend the day focused on background checks.
According to Bartmann, records from the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office show that in 2019, 3,700 concealed handgun permits were processed; in 2020, 4,900 permits were processed; and between January and April of 2021, 1,700 permit applications were processed. Bartmann said he expects to surpass the number of permits processed in 2020 in 2021.
On average, it’s taking about 90 days for applicants to receive their CHP permit.
“Part of that problem that we are having is CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigations) is backed up,” Bartmann said.
A spokesperson with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI) estimates it takes approximately three weeks to process background checks.
CBI Records show in 2019 the department processed 49,083 CHP background checks. In 2020, 59,526 CHP background checks were processed, a 21% increase. Between January and February of 2021, 14,571 CHP background checks were done compared to 8,391 in 2020 during the same time frame — a 73% spike, according to CBI documents.
According to Bartman, CHP requests tend to spike in the wake of a mass shooting.
Stanfield predicts getting a hold of a CHP is only going to get more difficult — it’s why he’s applying now.
He admits it’s been a struggle finding a gun.
“There has been a couple of guns I have been looking at, trying to purchase and those have been few and far between to come across,” Stanfield said.
History shows gun sales tend to surge after a mass shooting.
Bartmann is aware of the frustrations people have with the current permit system but says their budget and manpower is limited. He’s asking people to pack their patience, have all of the appropriate paperwork in order, and advises people to arrive early and check out the sheriff’s office website to stay up to date.
The Douglas County Sheriff's Office is also experiencing an increase in CHP demand. Between January 1 and March 31 of 2020 the department processed 955 CHPs. During the same time frame in 2021, 1,746 CHP have been processed, an 83% increase.