Packing heat: Concealed-carry permits soar

JaCee Apple, a Fruita wife and mother, shows the product of her company, Femme Fatale Handbags, with a storage pocket zipped open, ready for a handgun. Behind her are boxes of inventory ready for shipment. Apple is taking advantage of the surging demand for concealed-carry handgun permits in Mesa County and statewide.

Reflecting a surge in handgun demand in 2013 across Colorado, Mesa County residents this year successfully applied for concealed-handgun permits at a rate nearly doubling the pace of just two years ago, according to Mesa County Sheriff’s Office data.

As of Nov. 15, there were 1,539 applications made and approved through the sheriff’s office, according to department figures. The data reflects the most recent available totals.

Those numbers don’t include applications that were made after Nov. 15 and are still pending, nor does it account for concealed-handgun permit renewals approved over the course of 2013, sheriff’s spokeswoman Heather Benjamin said. The data through Nov. 15 represent a 24 percent increase over 2012, which saw 1,240 successful applications in Mesa County. There were 888 approved applications in Mesa County during 2011; 916 in 2010 and 1,225 in 2009, respectively.

Also of note is who is applying.

As of Nov. 15, the county had approved 572 concealed-handgun permits for women in 2013, compared with 967 for men. The numbers represent the highest totals for Mesa County women since at least 2009. Women made up 389 permit holders in 2012; 268 in 2011 and 256 in 2010.

For 24-year-old JaCee Apple of Fruita, the surge of packing Mesa County women has meant business opportunity.

The married mother of two started working out of her home in February. Her new company, Femme Fatale Handbags, offers what are billed as “stylish but affordable” women’s handbags modified to carry concealed handguns.

Apple said she has designs in the works for baby diaper bags — handgun friendly, of course.

Apple, who said she holds a valid conceal-carry permit, said she has sold 250 of her handbags in the past six weeks alone and delivers product to 22 retailers. Her first production order of 500 bags arrived in late October.

“I’m sure I’ll need to start hiring help pretty soon,” she said of demand.

Colorado — which saw sweeping firearms measures signed into law in March by Gov. John Hickenlooper — processed 61,269 background checks through November via the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s Instacheck Unit specifically related to conceal-handgun applications, according to CBI data.

That’s up 87 percent from 2012, which saw 32,823 checks relating to the permits.

Though November, some 168 fugitives had been arrested after being scrutinized through CBI’s Instacheck system in 2013.


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When I was a banker in Denver, there was a period of time where kidnappings of bank executives were on the increase. Our bank management hosted several meetings where personal safety and self defense was discussed. At that time several people applied for concealed carry permits. There are those in this community who believe that I am against private ownership of guns. That could not be farther from the truth. I don’t understand the behavior of people openly carrying guns while shopping, or dining out, but I firmly believe that there is a place for concealed-carry permits.

I have had a concealed carry permit for almost a decade. I took an excellent class on how to handle the gun safely, how to “carry” the gun safely and how to shoot it.  If I am not mistaken, the woman in the picture has her finger on or very near the trigger. In my class, my instructor was explicit, NEVER place your finger in range of the trigger unless you are going to shoot.  It takes discipline and training to handle any gun. Just because you can own a gun does that mean that you should?  Make sure you KNOW the reason you want the gun. Then make sure you take a class by a certified instructor who can teach you how to handle your gun.  It is NOT a toy! It kills! or it makes big convoluted tissue- destroying pathways through soft tissue.  Mrs. Apple please take the class, good luck with your bags you are having made overseas, and remember, the gun pocket should sequester the gun so it is less likely to go off accidently in your purse.

Made in China?

I stand corrected by the person in the picture that she did NOT have her finger near the trigger.  I do however, find the picture a bit too cavalier for a weapon.  I do know that press tends to put in pictures that would most stimulate a reaction.  I stand by my statement that when you carry a gun, especially in an item of “fashion” that the gun should be sequestered in a pocket with nothing else. A false sense of security comes from thinking having the “safety” on will be all that’s needed.  I really would like to see this “carry” bag up close.  Good Luck with your fashion business. I am glad to see you are following the path of your happiness and truly hope you succeed.

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