If local gun owners and firearm shop operators want to see more people arming themselves in Teller County and the Pikes Peak region, then they may consider plastering posters of President Barack Obama inside their homes and businesses.
The president’s latest attempt to implement more gun control efforts through a 10-point executive action plan, coupled with a spate of recent horrific terrorist/shooting attacks, has local residents purchasing weapons in gun-friendly Teller County and other parts of the region in record numbers. “It has been out of control,” said Jon DeVaux, the owner and operator of Alpine Firearms in downtown Woodland Park. “It just hasn’t stopped.”
In fact, DeVaux, who also serves on the Woodland Park Planning Commission, has cited an explosion in new customers, many of whom are relatively rookies in the firearms arena. “I would say 70 percent of our customers in the last few weeks have been women. That is unusual for us, as it is usually about 50/50 (between men and women customers).”
Moreover, he has noticed a huge interest in gun-related training classes and questions about concealed weapons at his shop. “People are scared and want to defend themselves. Teller County is a pretty well-armed area,” said the business owner.
According to DeVaux, a big demand has occurred for small pistols.
And with the president’s latest executive actions, aimed at tightening the rules for mandatory background checks and obtaining guns from federally registered dealers, concerns over protecting Second Amendment rights have escalated.
Some gun shop owners even jokingly say they should probably lobby for a third term for the president, if it was permitted. “He has been good for business,” quipped DeVaux, in commenting on the president’s staunch pro-gun control stand.
Similar sentiments are echoed by other gun shop owners in the Pikes Peak region. “Obama started talking gun control and people freaked out,” said Bob Holmes, co-owner of the Whistling Pines Gun Club, according to a report in The (Colorado Springs) Gazette. “We’re still at it again. You mention gun control and people buy guns.”
Business has been booming in gun shops throughout the Pikes Peak area in the last few weeks, according to many media reports.
This trend is definitely true for Teller, an area that takes its guns seriously. According to the latest statistics provided by the Teller County Sheriff’s Department, Teller ranks as sixth in the nation for gun ownership on per capita basis, and is number one in Colorado. With the latest Obama plan, the gun control battle is waging once again, with partisan swords getting sharpened. Congressman Doug Lamborn, who represents Teller and El Paso counties, and is regarded as one of the most conservative Republican congressional leaders, didn’t mince words, following the announcement of Obama’s executive orders to close the gun control loopholes.
“Instead of developing a coherent strategy to keep the American people safe from attacks by criminals and terrorists, the actions proposed by President Obama will do little to make us safer and will only discourage and inhibit the efforts of law-abiding citizens to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” stated Lamborn, in an official statement.
On the other side of the coin, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who played a key role in the gun control laws enacted in Colorado several years ago, stated, “Background checks keep guns out of the wrong hands. In Colorado, expanded background checks prevented more than 27,000 illegal purchases since 2012, including more than 100 denials based on prior arrest or conviction of homicide.”
No significant impacts
Ironically, the recent furor over Obama’s latest gun-control campaign will have little tangible effects in the area, according to authorities and gun experts. “I haven’t studied it that much, but it doesn’t seem like it would have much of an impact in Teller County,” said Sheriff Mike Ensminger, a big proponent of gun ownership rights. He notes that the state already has firm rules regarding background checks. In addition, the sheriff says requests for concealed weapon permits in Teller County have been pretty steady.
Ensminger is part of a group of sheriffs throughout Colorado that has filed a lawsuit against certain portions of gun control laws passed in Colorado in 2012. Ensminger says this lawsuit, which questions the constitutionality of two main gun control restrictions, is progressing well in the courts.
But ultimately, he believes the issue will land in the laps of the U.S. Supreme Court. The gun control issue has already commanded much attention in the presidential battle for 2016.
DeVaux agrees with Ensminger that the new executive orders won’t have too much of an impact. “We are in pretty good shape in Colorado,” said the firearms shop owner. “I am a firm believer in background checks. I don’t have any problem with that.”
That said, DeVaux said he is a little bit miffed by proposed efforts to require people who only sell several guns to individuals to obtain a federal firearms dealer license. He sees ideas like this creating a ‘”bureaucratic nightmare.”
But for the most part, he says the system for obtaining guns and doing the necessary background examinations in Colorado has worked well.
Regardless of different opinions on the issue, he Alpine Firearms owner says Teller residents love their guns. His business has experienced a 600 percent increase over the last four years.
The shop owner attributes part of this boom to the Sandy Hook shootings in Connecticut, and more recent horrific incidents, such as the San Bernardino attacks in California in early December, resulting in the death of 14 people. And with the publicity surrounding probable actions by the president, he said Teller residents aren’t hesitating in purchasing weapons.
Another factor that has fueled the gun boom is that steady and growing supplies of firearms have kept the lid on prices. DeVaux said this wasn’t the case, when he started Alpine Firearms back in 2011.