Packing heat: Concealed-carry permits soar
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.