At Least One Colorado Sheriff Entering Concealed Carry Permit Holders into Criminal Database

At Least One Colorado Sheriff Entering Concealed Carry Permit Holders into Criminal Database

Jan. 20, 2003 - We've been working on an issue that developed, of all places, in a county that has more per capita permits than any county in Colorado.

Just a few weeks ago RMGO Northern Colorado Coordinator Ray Hickman was contacted by Dell Bean, a former law enforcement officer.

Bean was returning home from vacation when a State Trooper pulled him over for no front license plate. When the Trooper accessed his in-car computer database, Bean came up as a concealed weapons permit holder in CCIC, the Colorado Crime Information Center database.

You can read more about CCIC at:

http://cbi.state.co.us/ccic/default.asp

You can also read a Fort Collins Coloradoan article at:

http://www.coloradoan.com/news/stories/20030118/news/801521.html

To summarize, the CCIC database is used as an "index of wanted and missing persons and property, to identify: people and property involved in crime; members of criminal gangs; stolen property; criminal suspects; criminal methods of operation; reported crime; reported arrests; and to share crime bulletins about major crimes in other states from which suspects may flee to Colorado."

In other words, permit holders -- who have already proven themselves law-abiding citizens -- are lumped in with rapists, murderers, burglars and thugs.  When Hickman was confronted with the information by Bean, RMGO staff began an investigation of this practice.

We have asked a legislator to request from CBI -- which administers the CCIC database -- a list of Sheriffs who are entering permit holders into the database as well as CBI's statutory authority for doing so. To date, the legislator has had no response.

Larimer County Republican Sheriff Jim Alderden began the practice of entering these names in CCIC late last year, ostensibly following the lead of former Boulder County Sheriff George Epp, a Democrat.

Alderden has issued more than 2,000 concealed weapons permits, including a brief period when he issued them for free in response to the 9/11 attacks.

But Alderden clearly has a blind spot. He's obviously more concerned with how he is seen by law enforcement agencies, who are notoriously anti-gun, than his constituents.

Alderden was elected almost entirely on the concealed carry issue when he challenged Republican Sheriff Richard Shockley in a GOP primary. Clearly, it was the gun issue that trounced Shockley.

While there are many law enforcement officers who are supporters of the constitution, they are becoming the exception rather than the rule. The push of law enforcement associations to create stricter gun laws has pushed the average law enforcement officer far to the left of their natural allies, the law-abiding gun owners.

RMGO's Executive Director confronted a Democrat sheriff about the practice of entering permit holders into CCIC, and the sheriff quickly denied any intention of doing so.

The sheriff's reason for not entering permit holders into CCIC? When the idea was floated at a Sheriff's association meeting, the Democrat sheriff quizzed other law enforcement personnel about what they would do if they pulled someone over who was flagged as a permit holder. The Democrat sheriff said he was appalled by the comments of some officers he asked, and didn't want to subject his permit holders to such a humiliating and possibly dangerous situation.

Alderden claims the practice is for simple officer safety, so an officer knows someone is likely armed when they are stopped.

Why would an officer be concerned about a citizen who has taken the time and expense to get that permit in the first place? The unfortunate answer is that law enforcement deals with, largely, the dregs of society on day-in day-out basis. This leads them to treat EVERYONE as a "perp" or perpetrator. "Everyone's a perp" is an extremely common phrase in law enforcement circles.

While the issue of being flagged in a database as a "dangerous person" is concerning, even more troubling is the potential of law enforcement to link that information with other databases.

Imagine Denver Police Department linking CCIC information to license plates.  Citizens should shudder at the chilling effect on our rights this system would have.

But ironically, it isn't coming from Denver. The threat is coming from a sheriff who has been arguably the most pro-gun Sheriff in Colorado.

Just this fall, Alderden issued a dozen permits to Denver County residents.  He came short of announcing that he would issue to any law-abiding Denver resident, likely because of the heat he would have taken from the County Sheriffs of Colorado (CSOC), which is Colorado's mafia for Sheriffs.

For years CSOC has been opposed to concealed carry permits. Now that the tide has shifted against them, and almost every sheriff is issuing permits, CSOC has tried to find ways to limit that authority.  CSOC, which is now run by George Epp and represented in the legislature by Peg Ackerman, is an integral part of gun control efforts in Colorado.

How does this CCIC issue effect concealed carry reform in the legislature?

For years, RMGO has warned legislators and gun owners alike that any concealed carry reform bill had to have a prohibition on statewide databases. We've run amendments to the NRA's concealed carry bills to remove the database they establish in their legislation.

Senate Bill 24, sponsored by Sen. Ken Chlouber (R-Leadville) and Al White (R- Winter Park) and drafted by the NRA, not only encourages Sheriffs to share permit holder information but fails to prohibit using CCIC as a registry of "dangerous persons."

Senate Bill 63 has a specific prohibition against any such database. In SB63, Sheriffs are only allowed to determine validity of a permit with their county maintained list of permit holders.

Some will claim a statewide database is needed to check validity. But both concealed carry bills offered this session (and most in the last 8 years of CCW debate) have been permits issued by a sheriffs department. That means a simple phone call to the issuing sheriff's department will authenticate the permit.

Anti-gunners want a statewide database, because it is the kind of information that is otherwise difficult to acquire. That's why Sarah Brady always insisted on a computer system at the federal level to log Brady checks, and unfortunately, the NRA obliged her. It is these kinds of systems that will be, undoubtedly, the tools to disarm Americans.

What can you do? If you are a Larimer county resident, call Sheriff Alderden's office at 970-498-5100 and urge him to discontinue the practice of lumping concealed weapons permit holders with criminals. If you are permit holder in Larimer, you should demand he remove you from the criminal database immediately.

Some Larimer County Permit Holders are considering filing a lawsuit against the Sheriff for failing to disclose that he would enter your name into the database.

For residents of other counties, standby: we'll post the list of Sheriffs Departments that log you into CCIC as soon as we get them.

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