Concealed Weapons Permits Increasing in Prowers County


Prowers County Sheriff James Faull

Gun safety and legislation regulating their ownership and registration have been one of the foremost discussions in this country since the re-election of President Obama and the slaughter of 20 children in Connecticut.  Gun sales are up across the country and Prowers County has followed suit with a noticeable increase in requests for concealed carry permits for handguns.  Prowers County Sheriff Jim Faull said that he has noticed a jump in the number of requests that have been made over the past several months. 

Sheriff Faull and this reporter discussed the steps needed to acquire a concealed carry permit, what one allows you to do and the responsibilities and laws that come with the permit.  Faull said that women constitute 60% of the permit requests in the county and background checks have been lengthened up to 90 days from the usual three to four week wait for an application to be processed. 

“When a person applies, we don’t require a reason for their request for a concealed carry permit, the type of handgun or how they’re going to carry it.  That’s all up to them,” the sheriff said.  “People can expect a 90 day wait for their fingerprints to come through, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will review their case and federal listings for any warrants or past issues will be checked,” he added. 

Sheriff Faull said he does get concerned about not being as well acquainted with who the county residents are as he once was when an application is made.  “Our department gets notified on the eligibility of a person for the permit and my deputies also conduct a local records investigation.  Part of their time on this goes into the cost of the permit,” he explained.  Faull said that most counties will charge $100 for a part of the fee, but the charge is only $75 in Prowers County.  “An applicant will have to pay $52.50 into the CBI to cover the cost of fingerprints and the background check.  We’ll take their money order or bank check made to the CBI and the county charges $25 for local efforts into the background check.”  Sheriff Faull said applicants can save some time and money by downloading the application off the Sheriff’s Department website.  “We used to get a lot of applications and we’d conduct the check, but then the person never came back and that would be time consuming and cost the department money,” he said.  The permits are good for five years, but they can be revoked by the sheriff’s department for inappropriate action or if you’ve been convicted on matters such as a domestic violence incident or a DUI.  “I’ve only had one instance in the past year where I denied a concealed carry permit,” Sheriff Faull added. 

Ironically, you can walk down the street in Colorado with a holstered pistol and you won’t be breaking any laws, but you may get stopped and questioned just as a precaution.  Faull explained,”There’s nothing to prevent you from doing this, but you can expect you’ll draw attention to yourself and someone will probably call the authorities just to ask about what’s going on.  You may be asked to leave a store or restaurant by the owner as the gun may upset his clients and business.”  Faull added, “Just as there are drug free zones around a school campus, there’s also no gun zones as well.  Even if you have a permit, that doesn’t give you the right to go into those areas.”  Faull said that especially applies to bars.  “If you have a concealed carry permit and you’re going out for drinks sometime, put the weapon in the trunk of your car and don’t carry it into a bar.  If you’re caught drinking and carrying a gun you’re going to have a charge of prohibited use of a weapon against you.  You can’t drink and drive and it just makes no sense to me to be carrying a gun when you’re out drinking.”  The Prowers County Courthouse also has some rules on the matter.  Sheriff Faull said, “We have a metal detector that screens everyone, but if you come through and get detected with a knife or gun, you’ll just be asked to go back and place it in your vehicle.  We don’t confiscate your weapon, but you’re not allowed to bring it inside, either.”   

The other concern the sheriff expressed was being aware of the emotional make-up of a person who applies for a concealed carry permit or a gun permit in general.  “That’s the big issue that’s being discussed right now,” he explained.  “We’re starting to look at a shooter’s mental make up like the guy in Connecticut or the Aurora theater shooting and sometimes you can’t tell when a person’s on the emotional edge.”  Sheriff Faull said, “We need to have some way of recognizing a person with mental problems, but the Hippa rules limit how much medical knowledge you can have of a person.  We don’t know if a person is stressed over a pending divorce or business problem or has other issues that make them go this way.  We need to find a way to get that information, but do it without becoming a Big Brother country where citizens have no privacy.”  Faull cautioned that the state legislature should take a time out for about a year before putting something into immediate law.  “Let’s have a debate and some serious discussions about safety and how we can protect people and not violate our constitutional rights.  Right now the media is feeding on this situation and we hear about every shooting taking place on the nightly news.” 

Faull added that he doesn’t think safety concerns will amount to gun confiscation in the nation, stating, “There’s just so many it won’t be feasible and there’s probably more guns in the country than citizens right now.  I don’t see how it would happen and that’s not something I’d make my department do anyway.  It’s a violation of our constitutional rights.”  He is in favor of having tougher automatic jail sentences when using a gun in a crime.  “I think we’d see less use of guns in crimes if the criminal knew he was automatically going to prison if a gun is used.  No plea bargains between lawyers, no discussion with the DA or defense attorney or judges.  It’s just an automatic sentence that is added to the charges against you when you bring a gun to a crime.”  “We also need regulations on straw purchases,” he continued.  “You shouldn’t be able to buy a gun with the intent to turn around to sell it to someone who wants to avoid a background check.  If I sell my brother a gun, even to another state, the gun is sent to a registered gun dealer or law agency and stays there until the new background check is approved and then the gun deal goes through.”   

Sheriff Faull said he doesn’t see any sense in restricting high capacity magazines.  “The government shouldn’t have the right to limit the number of bullets your gun can carry.  It won’t work and it’s just not practical.”  Faull cited a recent example when an intruder in Alabama broke into a home and a woman shot the felon five times and still didn’t completely stop him.  “Some of the home invasion situations are not limited to just one person anymore,” he explained.  “If you have two or three people breaking into your home, a small capacity clip might stop one person, but what about the other two?  How will you deal with them?” he asked.  

Faull concluded by saying it’s mostly a matter of common sense.  “I’m not worried about law abiding citizens.  They have a right to own weapons, but they also have an obligation to know the law and take steps to make sure their weapons are out of reach of other people in their homes.  That’s the way to stay safe and protected.”

By Russ Baldwin


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