Ft. Collins, CO, Women Arm Themselves Against Serial Rapist
by Dave workman
Senior Editor, Gun Week
Responding to a series of rapes since May 10 that appear to be the work of a single, serial rapist, many women in the Ft. Collins, CO, area have responded by arming themselves.
That may not have gone over too well with some gun critics and the local press, but according to Cliff Hamblen, proprietor at Hamblen Sales, a local gun shop, women feel more comfortable having taken some instruction on personal protection.
A course was taught at his shop by a local female police officer. As a result, some women have purchased handguns, while others bought pepper spray.
Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden told Gun Week that there has not been a surge of applications for concealed pistol licenses (CPLs). Indeed, only one woman had actually applied for, and received, her carry license. However, that single case provided fodder for local reporters when the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners provided training and gave a gun to the woman, who would only identify herself as a Colorado State University (CSU) student named "Annie." The group held a press conference on the CSU campus on Sept. 7.
Women Attend Courses
Fifty-nine women attended a course offered at Hamblen Sales, and a handful of others reportedly took a course in defensive tactics from a local karate instructor.
FoxNews quoted the CSU student as saying, "I don't want to live in fear. I don't want to be afraid about going out at night. I just want him to know not everyone is going to be submissive."
One of the rapes occurred one block from her off-campus apartment. CSU officials have stated publicly that they are not entirely comfortable with armed students walking around campus, but acknowledge that it is legal for them to do so. They may not keep handguns in dorm rooms, though.
The rapist, for whom local police have only a basic description, has gained entry through open windows over the Summer months. Now that women are closing their windows as fall temperatures cool things down, it is possible the attacker may either change his tactic, or go elsewhere.
Alderden has landed in the spotlight in relation to this case, even though all the rapes have occurred within the city limits of Ft. Collins and that city's police department is handling the investigation. However, Alderden was elected sheriff about three years ago on a platform that included easing of the department's policy on issuing concealed pistol licenses. Under the previous sheriff, less than a dozen permits had been issued, and that was on a strict "compelling reason" standard. Alderden's philosophy is considerably different.
"Basically," he explained, "any law-abiding citizen that meets our criteria, and goes through a background check and has no felony convictions, mental health issues or any other defined concerns can get a permit."
Since he has been in office, Alderden has issued in the neighborhood of 900 licenses, he estimated.
Hamblen noted that, privately, he's had police officers suggest they would not be upset if some intended victim confronted the rapist "and just plowed him." Colorado is home to the famous "Make My Day" law, that allows private citizens to use lethal force against burglars and other home invaders. If enough publicity is generated about that law and women arming themselves, it is possible that the rapist could be deterred and head elsewhere.
Alderden said he could not imagine that any woman who shot an apparent rapist would ever face prosecution in a Colorado courtroom.
"I don't think that there is any question that if someone was breaking into a dwelling to commit a crime, and the citizen defended themselves, that the 'Make My Day' law would come into effect," he said. "I don't think there's any doubt that no charges would be filed."
This article was provided by GunWeek, the sister publication to Women & Guns. For more gun news, check out GunWeek at www.gunweek.com.