More Puebloans want concealed handguns

POSTED: 10:58 PM MST Feb 18, 2013 
PUEBLO, Colo. -

The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office say it's booked for the next three months with appointments for concealed handgun permits. The department says it used to have two to three people applying for permits every day. Now, the department has between seven to 10 people applying daily.

Epie Martinez has been selling guns at Silver Gun Sports for 18 years. And he's selling lots of them. He says many customers are worried the state and federal governments are restricting people's rights to bear arms.

"Our phone's are ringing off the hook. We're working later hours. Longer hours. Struggling to keep inventory. Get inventory," Martinez said.

In 2012, the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office issued 468 concealed handgun permits. So far this year, the sheriff's office has had more than 160 people apply for permits.

"If we continue at this pace, this will be a record-setting year," said Charlene Graham, bureau chief for law enforcement for the sheriff's office.

After presidential elections, Graham says the sheriff's office tends to see an increase in people applying for their permits.

Graham said, "Everybody's concerned that there's gonna be a lot more restrictions and they want to be grandfathered."

Martinez says he's seen all kinds of people shopping for handguns. "A criminal will think twice before wanting to take your purse off your shoulder," Martinez said.

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is also seeing a large number of requests for concealed handgun permits- some days, record numbers. It says the increase in applications began after the shooting in Newtown, Conn., and after the federal government began talking about more gun control.