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Dec 27, 2012 8:00 PM by Andy Koen

Colorado laws protect gun owner privacy

A newspaper in New York state sparked a nationwide controversy this week by published a map of households where handgun owners live. The ordeal raised our curiosity as to what kind of public records exist for gun owners in Colorado. As it turn out, there's not much.

Susan Medina, the Public Information Officer for the Colorado Bureau of Investigations explains that their agency does not keep any kind of record regarding who and where firearms are purchased.

State and federal laws require mandatory criminal background checks for every gun sale and CBI facilitates that search. But Medina says any personal information is destroyed within 24 hours of a customer being cleared for purchase.

"CBI's role in this process of firearms transactions is simply to conduct that background check to ensure that there are no prohibiters for somebody to possess that firearm."

The only records of firearms owners kept on file are those associated with concealed handgun permits which are issued through individual county sheriffs offices. Sgt. Joe Roybal of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office explains, those files are not considered public information.

"We keep the records of those individuals who've applied and whether they've been approved or disapproved, (that information) is kept in the strictest of confidence."

In fact, Roybal says even family members cannot be told if a concealed carry permit applicant was approved or denied.

As a general rule, permit holder are encouraged to tell the police that they have a permit if they are ever searched. However, it's not a statutory requirement.

"It is really up to the concealed handgun holder to disclose that information with law enforcement," Roybal said.

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