Temporary fee increase for firearm background checks

By  | 

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) If you're planning to buy a gun anytime soon, it's going to cost you a little more money.

Starting Thursday, Feb. 1, InstaCheck fee will increase from $6 to $15. Customers pay this fee whenever they go to purchase a firearm or a concealed carry permit.

InstaCheck started in 2013 as a way to promote gun safety across Colorado. Colorado Bureau of Investigation spokesperson Susan Medina says the increase is "a temporary shift that is necessary because the current fee was too low to ensure a sustainable funding level for the program."

The program is cash-funded and Medina says without the fee increase they risk going into a negative balance.

Richard Patton with Whistling Pines Gun Club in Colorado Springs tells 11 News he was surprised by the change, especially considering it's the first time the fee has ever been increased.

"It was set at a certain rate, it was lowered from there, and then lowered again from there, and then now more than doubled this time," he said.

In 2013, the fee was set at $10. In 2015 it was reduced to $7 and one year later it was reduced again to $6.

Owner of Hickman's Rifles Earl Hickman says "it's just the cost of doing business," but he wishes the whole InstaCheck system didn't exist at all.

"Instacheck is superfluous and is just a cash cow," Hickman said.

Southern Colorado is no stranger to guns. There are three times the amount of conceal carry permits issued across El Paso County than any other county in the state. As of December 2017, El Paso County Sheriff's Office issued 45,145 permits.

Both Whistling Pines and Hickman's Rifles expect this fee increase could negatively impact sales at least at first.

"Eventually people will decide that that's just what the new rates going to be," said Patton.

Hickman says, "I don't see it affecting [sales] too awful much. Probably just more complaining than not buying."

Here's what CBI wants you to know:

"CBI does not take the issue of a fee increase lightly ... Moving forward, the CBI is conducting frequent reviews of the costs associated with the program in an effort to minimize the impact on our customers," Medina said.

CBI will review the fee increase on July 1 and set at a level. It's not clear if the fee will go back down to $6.