Discretionary Denials of CCW Permits in Shall Issue State by Sheriff

I have a CCW permit from KS (issued before KS was a Constitutional carry state) and a non-resident permit from NV where I took lots of classes at Front Sight.

I am a resident of CO and am starting the process of getting a CO permit. But, I’m nervous about my local sheriff’s authority to deny a permit application. Under CO statutes, even though the state is a “shall issue” state “if the sheriff has a reasonable belief that documented previous behavior by the applicant makes it likely the applicant will present a danger to self or others if the applicant receives a permit to carry a concealed handgun, the sheriff may deny the permit.” CRS 18-12-203(2) Essentially, CO is, as a practical matter, a “may issue” state thanks to this language, referred to as a discretionary denial.

The previous sheriff in my tiny rural county (pop about 25,000) led the state in discretionary denials and revocations, with more denials than Denver, El Paso, Pueblo, Douglas and Arapahoe counties combined. He had a reputation for denying permits to political opponents or those who supported his opponents in the last election. He would tell applicants who were denied that he believed they were dangerous, and if they didn’t agree, they could sue him in court. Of course, he had a free attorney in the form of the county attorney with an unlimited legal war chest thanks to the taxpayers. (BTW, he was also endorsed by the NRA.)

If my application is denied under the sheriff’s discretionary authority does the USCCA legal protections provide me with any recourse? Said differently, can I call on a USCCA lawyer to challenge the determination?

Good question. However, I will not be holding my breath awaiting USCCA’s answer

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There really is not such a thing as a “a USCCA lawyer” — there are attorneys who have arrangements with USCCA to represent members who need to access their USCCA legal defense benefits. Or you can apply those benefits for the services of an unaffiliated attorney of your choosing. But member benefits are geared around the needs of members who require representation as a consequence of a self-defense incident. Political activism, asserting tort claims, etc are not really on the menu.


@Mark697 Welcome to the community, we are glad to have you here.
Simple answer. Ummm NO. Same as stated above. :arrow_up:
Please reread your contract.



Hello and welcome @Mark697
I wouldn’t worry too much about it, as long as you have a clean background you’ll be fine.
(Still here in NV)

USCCA has a legal foundation that “might” help. You should be able to find the link at USCCA site or chat with them…



I think first applying for the permit to see if it gets turned down should happen. Then ask the sheriff why by a FOIA request if needed. Go forward from there.


You can find more about your State’s specific process by visiting “uscca.com/laws”. In North Carolina, which is a “shall issue” state the County Sherriff has 14 days to issue the permit AFTER all contacted agencies have responded to the ROI (law enforcement agencies, mental health agencies, etc.). My County Sherriff is anti-concealed carry, so he sends out information requests to a dozen or more mental health agencies. By the time they all respond up to a year may have gone by. Malicious compliance at its worst.

There’s a good deal of malicious compliance and incompetence to go around. In my rural Colorado county, there’s also a good ole boy network of cronies. But, if you campaign for or contribute to the sheriff’s political opponent, there is a significant risk of denial under the statute’s discretionary denial language and, if that happens you get to have a legal fight with the taxpayer-funded county attorney who defends the sheriff.

The problem is only solved if the state adopts permitless carry (Constitutional carry) which is not only opposed by every Dem in the legislature, but also by most law enforcement agencies who don’t trust the governed with firearms and/or like the $150 fees they are paid to process applications.