Permits for concealed weapons climb in Colorado |

Permits for concealed weapons climb in Colorado

DENVER (AP) ” Colorado sheriffs say applications for concealed-weapon permits are soaring, but opinions differ on the reasons.

The law-enforcement group County Sheriffs of Colorado reported that nearly 9,300 people sought permits statewide last year, up 49 percent from 2006.

Some officials attributed the increase to recent shootings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University, a Utah mall and two Colorado church sites.

Don Christensen, executive director of the sheriffs group, said the surge may be caused by people renewing permits that were first issued five years ago.

In the Colorado shootings, 24-year-old Matthew Murray killed two people at a missionary training school in Arvada before driving to New Life Church in Colorado Springs and killing two others the same day.

In El Paso County, which includes Colorado Springs, the number of permit applications rose after the shootings. The number was up by 123 in December and 171 in January, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department said.

“We saw a real surge after the New Life incident,” said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. “People were commenting that they were concerned about the homicide rate in the city. They were asking, ‘Is it really getting that bad? Should we be worried?”‘

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