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Report shows more packing heat in El Dorado County

Despite rigorous requirements, concealed weapon permits on the rise
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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The number of people authorized to carry concealed weapons is on the rise in El Dorado County.

According to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office’s annual report, 514 permits were issued in 2011, and 728 in 2012 – an increase of 42 percent.

In 2010, 225 permits were issued, according to the report.

Lt. Tim Becker, of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, said the process to obtain a CCW  (carry concealed weapon permit) is rather rigorous.

First, those wanting the permit must complete an application – either in person or online, attend an appointment to visit the records department of the Sheriff’s office for an interview and pay a $123 fee.

“The fee is non-refundable and is for an FBI and/or Department of Justice background check,” Becker said. “You also have to get fingerprinted after the records interview.”

The permit covers a specific weapon, which needs to be brought to the records office to be checked out by staff.

The detectives division will also need to interview the prospective permit holder, he said.

All of this is followed by an eight-hour class led by a certified trainer.

“After successful completion of the class, you meet again with records for review, prior to receiving the CCW,” Becker said.

John Dorsett, of Cameron Park, said he’s fine with the regulations required to get the permit.

“The people that want a permit have to go through a lot of training and background checks,” he said. “They are highly qualified to own a gun and carry a concealed weapon.”

Donna LeClair, of El Dorado County, said one of the reasons she feels safer is because so many in the area either have CCW permits, or have guns in their homes.

“It’s really a part of life out in the country,” she said of owning a gun. “You never know when you are on your property if you will run into a mountain lion, bear or other wild animal.”

Aside from the animal issues, gun responsible gun ownership is how she grew up.

“My family has always lived in the country and having guns was just part of who we were. We learned at an early age how to shoot and to respect firearms,” LeClair said.