Demand for firearms is up and so are numbers of applicant denials, say Colorado Springs gun shop owners

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Local gun shop owners say they’ve never seen anything like it.

“There has never been this level of interest in firearms, ever,” said Jeff Lepp, CEO and owner of Specialty Sports and Supply. 

More application denials than what they usually see in an entire year. 

“A lot of people who thought in January that it was just really easy to get a gun, are pretty startled to find out you better have a clean record if you’re going to get a gun,” Lepp said. 

“One of the things that we’ve noticed is there’s a lot more women being denied. So, they’ve gone up exponentially,” said Paul Paradis, owner of Paradise Sales. 

While firearm sales have significantly increased since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s also brought out a lot of first-time buyers.  

“I would say easily, 50-percent of our customers are first time buyers and have come to a realization that they’ve gotta do something to protect themselves,” Paradis said. 

“I’ve made a few jokes, I think just about everyone who was going to vote for Bernie Sanders has bought a gun. In fact, you’ve got a ton of people who are buying guns who in January would have voted to ban guns, who will never talk about banning guns now,” Lepp said. 

These gun shop owners say sales jumped in February and are still going strong. So, they say interested customers should make sure their records are clean.

“What the system is actually proving is how it is at stopping people from buying guns, but we have ever seen this level of denial before. You got a restraining order put on you at one point in time, buddy, you’re pretty much out of luck. You better get a lawyer. There’s all kinds of stuff, it can preclude you. You got an outstanding speeding ticket, you’re denied. You didn’t pay your speeding ticket, you didn’t pay your court fees, you’re behind on alimony, you’re denied buddy,” Lepp said. 

“Every story is a little different. If you’re denied when you do a purchase, I usually talk to the customer and then we file an immediate appeal, so they can find out specifically why they were denied and then if there’s something they do to get off that list,” Paradis said. 

And the customers walking in these days aren’t the part of the usual crowd.

“Pastors, pick whatever you want. Housewives, single moms. Single moms unbelievable large numbers. Unbelievable large numbers. You can no longer have a stereotype of who owns a gun, I can promise you that,” Lepp said. 

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