Concealed carry clears first House hurdle;
Liberals, moderates, media defeat cures to SB96's ailments

Friday, April 25, 1997 -- Senate Bill 96 passed the House floor on Second reading this morning, and will have a formal vote next week.

Liberal media doesn't understand voting on principle
Denver's print media once again proved their left-wing bias by printing baseless attacks on our lobbyist and our staunchest allies in the legislature, Rep. Mark Paschall (R-Arvada) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-Fort Morgan).

Rather than report that a gun organization was working to fix a questionable concealed carry bill, mouthpiece-of-the-left Dan Luzadder (from the Rocky Mountain News) wrote a column to denounce Paschall and Musgrave's stand for principle. Apparently, Luzadder wants RMGO and GOA to sit down and play nice games, the way the rest of the lobbying organizations in the Capitol do.

Luzadder's column is so far from the truth that he calls Sen. Dave Wattenberg (R-Walden) and Rep. Russ George (R-Rifle) "pro-gun," even though both had voted against the "Vermont Law," and Rep. George had repeatedly voted against any concealed carry bills and sponsored a 1995 bill with Sen. Dottie Wham to increase the penalty for carrying without a permit to a felony -- odd ways to display their "pro-gun" votes. He doesn't even know how long this concealed carry fight has been in the legislature -- the first bills were in the 1994 session, not six years ago, as he reports.

Politicians want votes kept quiet
All of yesterday's efforts to improve this concealed carry bill failed on recorded votes (which will be available on our web site early next week).

The Musgrave motion to allow carrying concealed in a car without a permit wasn't even considered by House sponsor Larry Schwarz, showing his commitment to process rather than principle. Musgrave passionately argued that her rural constituents were unknowingly breaking the law when they put a revolver under the seat of their pickup and went to check the cows, and that the car is an extension of the home. Her appeal was just too reasonable for that crowd.

Paschall showed a study that stunned the House, detailing that this bill would establish the most expensive concealed carry permit in America. $42 a year (3 years at $125) was more than double the national average of $20. But, despite the evidence, Paschall's amendment to reduce the fee to $60 for 3 years failed. Efforts to remove government-mandated training and the CBI database of gun owners had identical results: Schwarz opposed them, and they failed.

But the real surprise came when State Rep. Mike Salaz (R-Trinidad), taking a page from Sarah Brady's HCI tactical handbook on concealed carry laws, ruled that the "Vermont Law" amendment did not fit under the title and could not be offered, even though it had been offered to a concealed carry bill in 1996. This procedural move by Salaz made certain that no embarrassing "Vermont" vote could happen -- and, if the Rocky Mountain News can get anything right, it was a deal Salaz struck with liberals long before to avoid a tough recorded vote.

Thank the Heroes of this battle
Reps. Paschall and Musgrave did what was right by publicly standing for principle, and making others do the same. Call Rep. Mark Paschall (303-866-2950) and Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (303-866-3706) to thank them for their hard work to fix this bill. They moved this debate from "should people be allowed to get a permit" to "should government be allowed to stop law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves."

Expect final approval from the House next week, and a Roy Romer veto within three weeks.

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