Concealed Carry passes the Senate;
Your pressure removes "Wham Provisions"

Tuesday, March 18, 1997 -- Senate Bill 96 passed the Colorado Senate today on a mostly party-line vote of 20-15. Sen. Sally Hopper (R-Golden) was the sole Republican to oppose the measure, and Sen. Jim Rizzuto (D-Swink) the lone Democrat to vote for the bill.

Wham provisions neutralized

Thanks to your phonecalls and postcards, Sen. Ken Chlouber and Sen. Dottie Wham removed language to create "criminal safezones" where an affirmative defense must be used by a permit holder. This would have allowed law enforcement to harass permit holders in areas where a city council prohibited concealed carry.

This provision was supported by Chlouber in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where he pledged to join Sen. Wham in killing the bill if her provisions did not stay on the bill.

But after a landslide of pressure, Chlouber agreed to change the Judiciary Committee amendment. Instead of an affirmative defense, it would not be an offense for a permit holder to carry in any area in Colorado, neutralizing any municipally created "criminal safezones."

This bill can get better

SB96 still has a number of problems. It still requires applicants to be fingerprinted like common criminals, the fee is too high ($125 for a three-year permit) and it still has government-mandated training.

The Senate also added in language to direct the Attorney General's office to design the concealed carry exam, which would test the applicants knowledge of the legal use of deadly force. If a strongly anti-gun Attorney General is elected, what is to stop them from creating an exam that could only be passed by a Harvard Law School graduate?

Private, Voluntary Training vs. Government Certification and Control

We all want every gun owner to be trained in safety as well as proficiency, and gun owner's zeal for these goals is obvious. The number of firearms "accidents" has been cut almost in half in the last few decades without government involvement and control. RMGO, along with other gun organizations, would be happy to offer a guide to training facilities and safety instructors, without a directive from Big Brother.

The U.S. Constitution recognizes the right to KEEP and BEAR arms. There is no training required in the 2nd Amendment. Once government-controlled mandatory training is forced upon the right to bear arms, can government-controlled mandatory training for the right to keep arms be far behind? The two go together.

There is no current training requirement for open carry in Colorado, so why do we need one for concealed carry? Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Vermont do not require government-mandated training. Why are the citizens of Colorado any less responsible?

Stay tuned for more developments.

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