Coloradans aren’t necessarily buying more guns, but they are concealing more

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

staff photo

Atrocities like the Orlando massacre seem to drive an increase in gun sales, especially when they lead to calls to limit guns.

It’s too early to tell exactly how the Orlando attack is playing out in Colorado’s gun shops, but one trend already has taken root this year: Far more people are interested in carrying concealed handguns.

Almost 32,000 people applied from January through the end of May for a permit to conceal a gun, according to new data from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. That’s almost double the number that applied in the same period last year.

The Orlando shooting, in which a gunman killed 49, happened on June 12, after this data was captured.

So, if this trend is indeed driven by mass shootings, it might instead have been connected to last winter’s deadly attacks on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, or the rampage in San Bernardino, or any number of mass shootings before then.

This is the highest level of concealed-carry interest in years.

Data compiled by The Denver Post shows that 2013 brought the highest number of new concealed-carry permits in Colorado. The Newtown, Connecticut mass murder of 20 first-graders and six adults happened late in 2012.

But gun sales are stable, so far.

The number of weapons sold in Colorado hasn’t changed much from 2015 to 2016. Roughly 23,000 gun sales of all types have been approved so far this year.

Any sales effect from the Orlando shooting may become apparent in the next release of data.