Gun owners pack concealed-carry permit classes.

Author:Thurman, Russ
Position::Industry News

Gun dealers in Colorado and Minnesota are experiencing a surge of business since new concealed-carry laws went into effect in May. Gun dealers report the increase in business after the legislatures in both states passed and the governors signed the long-sought laws.

"We're getting a lot of calls. The interest in handguns is really high," said Jeff Kempf, owner of Armored Fire Gun Shop and Range in Circle Pines, Minn. "We've got about 700 people signed up for the class."

Minnesota requires those seeking a concealed-carry permit to take a six-hour certification class. Once done, law enforcement officials are required to issue permits to applicants who are at least 21 years old, U.S. citizens and pass criminal and mental-health background checks.

Before the new law, police officials decided who would receive a concealed-carry permit. About 12,000 people had permits when the law went into effect. Experts expect that to increase to 90,000 under the new law.

"People have been waiting for it. A lot of them are saying, 'I may not carry, but I want to have the permit in case I want to,"' said Jonathan Martin, of Bill's Gun Shop and Range in Robbinsdale, Minn., where 300 people underwent training in May. The students included women, business owners, truck drivers and the elderly.

In Colorado, gun classes filled quickly once the concealed-carry law went into effect May 19.

"I'm booked clear into August," said Roger Miller, who conducts training at the Firing Line in Aurora, Colo.

It is the same for Jon Vargason of The Shootist in Englewood. "We're getting 50 to 60 calls a day asking about classes," Vargason said.

Anti-gun advocates in Minnesota and Colorado are continuing their efforts to reverse the laws, or reduce their effectiveness. In a May 29 editorial, the Minneapolis Star Tribune called the new law "stupid" and that it has "as much relevance to modern life as bloodletting has to modern medicine."

In Colorado, a lawsuit filed in Denver is challenging the concealed-carry law.

"Of course, we're hoping Denver's lawsuit is successful," said Cynthia Stone of Colorado CeaseFire. "But we also hope people will start putting up 'No Guns Allowed' signs. That would be a...

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