(CBS4) -- A squabble over proper certification between the owner of a gun training class and the Larimer County Sheriff may end up in court.
Edgar Antillon, co-founder of Guns For Everyone, stated in a press release Thursday his company is seeking unspecified "judicial determination" to resolve a contentious argument with Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith.
Larimer County has stopped accepting the business's certification for citizens applying for concealed handgun permits. At issue are the business's procedures, put in place since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing mandates, in which Guns For Everyone to modify its in-person training.
Antillon claims the Sheriff has gone above current Colorado law, and Smith's authority as Sheriff, in an attempt to influence the business's coursework.
Antillon, who says he is Hispanic, said in his press release that racism may also play a role in the Sheriff's judgement.
"I cannot say what Smith's motivations are, but they're definitely suspicious," Antillon stated. "It's suspicious because we were not the only organization doing this, and Smith accepts hunters education courses which are done 100 percent online at the moment due to the virus. There's definitely a bias there."
Smith responded: "There is no doubt he's slinging personal insults at me because I looked into it. For whatever reason, he does not like being challenged."
Smith told CBS4 he and other sheriffs in Colorado communicated earlier this year about concerns with Guns For Everyone's recent procedures. At his prompting, an LCSO employee then signed up for the Guns For Everyone class and underwent both online and in-person training. The employee showed up at the business's metro area facility, Smith said, stood in a warehouse for 15 minutes with other applicants, never had an ID checked, and then received a certificate signed by Antillon that did not contain the applicant's name.
The unlicensed reproduction of such certificates, Smith said, is a major concern.
"At that point, I said 'Yeh, I can't honor this.'"
Smith provided CBS4 with a copy of that certificate.
Smith also said the employee was sent a link to a Youtube video as part of Guns For Everyone's online training. He said he found no apparent the ability for the business to verify the LCSO applicant had ever watched the video.
Smith said Antillon also refused to answer the Sheriff's questions about the business's training process.
"He's very demanding. We have to honor his certificates and he does not have to answer any questions."
When Smith relayed his department's experience to the state's other sheriffs, Antillo's talk of legal intervention began.
"He's certainly not happy I shared it with the other sheriffs," Smith said. "(But) this isn't punitive. We've got to get compliance."
Antillon told CBS4 that Smith's communication amounted to misinformation. Summit, Fremont, Elbert and Logan counties balked momentarily but eventually reinstated their acceptance of certificates from Guns For Everyone, he said.
"After talking with these Sheriffs,' Guns For Everyone co-founder Isaac Chase stated, "we were able to clarify the issues and get the citizens back on track to exercise their right to defend themselves. Sheriff Smith has been the only Sheriff to refuse to comply with Colorado concealed handgun law and continues to deny the citizens the right to due process and their right to carry."
Seven metro agencies, including the Denver and Broomfield police departments, were not affected by Larimer's message, Smith told CBS4, and never reconsidered.
Pueblo County, however, has not decided, he said.
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