There's A New Sheriff In Town
El Paso County Sheriff Improves Concealed Carry
by Desiree Hickson, January 22, 2003
Newly elected sheriff Terry Maketa has just initiated sweeping changes in how the Sheriff's office allows residents of El Paso County to acquire concealed-carry weapons permits.
When he ran for office, Sheriff Maketa promised to lower the age to qualify for a concealed-weapons permit from 25 to 21. After less than one day in office, he kept that promise. His reasoning was that if a 21 year old is old enough to purchase a firearm, they could just as well be trusted with a permit as a person 4 years older.
He also ordered a decrease in the cost to acquire a permit from $85 to $20.
These changes are significant because it allows for greater access to concealed-weapons permits to more people, especially to women and the low-income individual.
When my husband, who is in the Army, went away to Bosnia, he gave me my first firearm. Some very generous friends got me into a firearms safety/training course. But, the application for a concealed-carry permit was high for our income level (we are a military family with three kids). Adding up the cost for the class I was given and the cost of the permit application, all charges would have added up to more than $200. The class that I took was very comprehensive, but I have since found other businesses that offer firearms training for $50.
Applicants for concealed-weapons permits are still required to undergo and pass a background test and show proof of firearms training. But, with the sweeping changes called for by Sheriff Maketa, the cost of obtaining a permit has been dropped dramatically, making it possible, for anyone willing to go through the trouble, to receive their concealed-carry permit for less than $100.
As a Libertarian, of course, I believe that more can be done. But, it is definitely a step in the right direction. Baby steps, as they say. Sheriff Terry Maketa, alone, can not change gun laws in this state or even in this county. Still, making permits more accessible and affordable is a very good thing.
Buying a firearm, is expensive enough. But what good is a gun if you can only use it to protect yourself at home? If you are a young, single mother, being stalked by your ex-lover, or if you are an older woman in fear of a rapist terrorizing the neighborhood, having a gun at the ready, to protect yourself or your children, no matter where you are, is paramount.
If you are on a fixed income and knowing that the only difference between legally carrying concealed and putting dinner on the table is the cost of a month's worth of groceries, many people opt for feeding themselves and their children and put the idea of spending the money on getting a permit in the lockbox with their firearm (or carry concealed, illegally, and risk losing the "government-granted" right to ever own a gun, again).
Considering that many young soldiers in Colorado Springs will soon be leaving young wives and children behind to fend for their own safety (while we threaten to invade Iraq), there will be many young mothers in this town required to take their own pre-emptive actions against the criminals in our midst. Women and the poor are more likely to have crimes committed against them, so it is just that much more important for them to have access to the best chance at safety in or out of their homes. Guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens have been shown to be a deterrent to crime. The more of these people who are concealed-carry permit holders, the less likely that they will become another "victim statistic."
Ideally, I'd like to see Vermont-style carry passed in the state of Colorado. That would allow equal footing for everyone, rich or poor, man or woman, young or old. The cost would be virtually nill, except for the purchase of the firearm, and then it is up to each person to decide the worth of a trusty side-arm to keep him or herself safe from harm.