EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - El Paso County set a one-day record on Tuesday with 106 calls requesting information or appointments for concealed-carry handgun permits.
So many calls came in that staff in the Sheriff's Office couldn't respond to them all, said Lt. Jeff Kramer. Kramer asked callers to be patient while staff catches up. He said the office will devote more hours to process those new requests.
Last week's school shooting in Connecticut and the possibility of new gun control laws are cited as reasons for the increase in permit requests. Many legal gun owners want protection from shooters, or the option to shoot back at a gunman if necessary, because so-called "active shooter" situations often end quickly before authorities can respond.
Local authorities cautiously discussed what people with that mindset should do.
"We recommend running away and hiding first," said Lt. Sal Fiorillo of the Colorado Springs Police Department. "But if you choose action to eliminate the threat, use whatever force is reasonable and necessary. It's a personal decision."
Kramer said an active shooter situation involves a number of variables that challenge even trained law enforcement professionals.
"Is the shooter moving? Are there other people running around?" said Kramer. "If we have rounds that have been fired, that miss our intended target and perhaps strike someone or something else, we have to consider the legal ramifications of that. You really need to understand what's involved, rather than simply reacting emotionally."
Kramer said because of the current backlog, it may take someone between four and eight weeks to get an appointment scheduled for a concealed-carry permit.
Fiorillo and Kramer said their officers and deputies receive regular training for active shooter situations. They said they were unaware of any plans to place resource officers in elementary and middle schools on a regular basis.