Concealed weapons permit applications from college students on the rise, says Boulder County Sheriff’s Department
The percentage of college-aged gun owners applying for concealed weapons permits in 2007 has more than doubled since last year, according to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department.
Of the permits filed with the sheriff’s department last year, 11 percent represented the 21 to 27-year-old age bracket, Deputy Tom Shomaker said. For 2007, that percentage has risen to 25 percent of all applicants, he said, the majority of whom are CU students.
“The sheriff’s department informed us that they’ve seen the number of student-aged individuals requesting concealed weapons permits spike quite a bit,” CU Police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said. “I can’t help but wonder if Virginia Tech played a factor.”
In addition, the department is on pace to double the number of total applications for the county. The department received 246 applications for 2006, Shomaker said, and had received 290 for 2007 as of August.
“By the end of the year, we could conceivably double the numbers from 2006,” Shomaker said.
The permit application does not require an applicant to identify themselves as a student, he said, but the sheriff’s department personnel makes a point of asking anyway.
“We need to make sure that these people understand they cannot take any weapon of any kind on campus even with the permit,” Shomaker said. “So it stands to reason to ask.”
Even with the increased numbers, CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard and regent Steve Ludwig said the university’s policy toward concealed weapons will not change.
The regents have the authority to set laws for the institution, Ludwig said. Those laws do prohibit arms on campus except by law enforcement.
“The second you step on campus, we are empowered to exclude you and disarm you,” Hillard said, adding that students who wish to keep weapons on campus must register them with the CU police and keep the weapon in a locked vault at the police station.
Ludwig said he doesn’t believe the increase in applications for concealed weapons permits correlates to alarm in students, and Wiesley added it was too soon to tell if the stabbing of freshman Michael Knorps on Aug. 27 would translate to more applications.
“I think it’s just people being responsible,” Ludwig said.
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