Leasures Treasures store owner Elden Leasure, right, and Dan Van Hass examine guns for sale Saturday, March 9, 2013, at Elden's booth at the Sertoma Gun Show at the Colorado Springs Event Center. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette

Black Friday is typically the busiest day of they year for Colorado Bureau of Investigation workers who do background checks for gun purchases, and for many gun sellers as well.

But, if buyers are planning on surprising someone with a gun gift, they'd better think twice, because Colorado law might forbid it.

Under Colorado law that became effective in July, universal background checks are required for transfer of firearms to people who are not members of one's immediate family.

So, you can gift a gun to your father or daughter, even your grandma or first cousin -- but not your boyfriend or best friend.

Rich Voelker, owner of The GunOutlet, 5026 N. Academy Blvd., which specializes in person-to-person transfers, said people need to be aware of the new laws this holiday season, because the stipulations, and exceptions, are many.

He said if the gift is going to a friend or a girlfriend, the transaction would require a background check by a licensed gun dealer.

And, given the Black Friday CBI background-check numbers, there are many who might need to heed the warning.

By 5 p.m. Friday, CBI had processed 3,382 background checks, said spokeswoman Susan Medina. Last year, the bureau processed 4,300, compared to 3,031 in 2011 and 2,327 in 2010.

They expected more checks this year because gun sales soared after the Sandy Hook and Aurora theater shootings in 2012, and this year's tighter gun laws, which prompted increased gun and ammunition purchases. Will Hartman, manger at Paradise Sales gun shop at 605 W. Colorado Ave., said that Black Friday is typically a busy day for him, even though the shop doesn't offer special deals or expanded hours as others do. "Backgrounds checks are taking a little longer than they normally do," he said, but added that delay was not hampering sales.

Medina said the bureau tried to plan for the increased activity.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure we have our resources in place to complete the checks as soon as possible," Medina said. "We really feel like we're able to meet the needs." To meet those needs, CBI added staff and extended hours this year.

And, despite the increase in demand, Medina said the team has typically managed to complete checks within about 4 minutes.

The CBI's InstaCheck team's normal hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Black Friday, they began their day at 4 a.m. By 10 a.m. they had processed almost 1,200 background checks for firearms transfers.


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