Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Regarding concealed handgun permits:

As many of you are aware, every aspect of our operations have been impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic. In the interest of community safety, we've had to reduce non-mandatory physical interactions between staff and the community.

Our Concealed Handgun Permitting process is one of those areas.

We continue to process CHP renewals, much the same as before and our unit continues to process permit applications that came in before last week.

However, we are holding off on fingerprinting until we can find a way to do it safely. With all the public health officials recommending that persons maintain 6 feet of separation, there is just no way that we can properly fingerprint applicants without some risk of exposing them.

With the desperate need for protective gear for our first line medical providers, it would be irresponsible to use that equipment up for applicant fingerprinting at this time.

Keep in mind that CHPs typically take near 90 days to get completed because of the time it takes CBI to complete the mandatory fingerprint check.

Now with the significant increase in firearms purchases, CBI is tremendously backlogged on FFL checks. After consulting with sheriffs across the state, the decision was made to prioritize FFL purchase checks ahead of CHP fingerprint checks. I support that because I don't want to restrict a person's ability to purchase a firearm for their own protection.

Unfortunately, we are now told to expect up to 120 days for a CHP fingerprint check to be completed.

Keep in mind that in Colorado, persons lawfully allowed to possess a firearm can carry them concealed for protection on their own property, in their own vehicle, and at their business. Further, in most places in the state a person can open-carry a firearm (check federal, state and local laws for specific restrictions).

We will get applicant fingerprinting back online as soon as we possibly can. We appreciate your understanding.

Sheriff Justin E. Smith