1997 Colorado Legislative Session Begins; Concealed Carry fate in Question

1997 Colorado General Assembly Convenes: Concealed Carry Still a Gamble

Friday, January 10, 1997 -- The 120-day session of the Colorado legislature convened on Wednesday, with Republicans still firmly in charge.

The Colorado House saw no net change: Republicans have 41 seats to the Democrats 24 seats. The Senate gained 1 seat for Republicans, increasing their majority to 20-15.

As the papers have reported, the Senate has shifted slightly to the right. Passing a concealed carry law, however, will still be difficult. Expect the action to come in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Problem

Senate President Tom Norton (R-Greeley) has assigned all concealed carry bills to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where they have died for the last 3 years. The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is Dottie Wham (R-Denver), one of the Senate's most liberal Republicans and ally of anti-gun Denver Police Chief Michaud. Wham, along with Senator Sally Hopper (R-Golden), is likely to vote with Democrats if any concealed carry bill actually gives citizens the right to self defense. Even one Republican defection will kill the bill (a 4-4 tie kills a bill).

Senate Judiciary Committee Members

    Dottie Wham, Chairman (R-Denver) Anti-gun

    Dick Mutzebaugh, Vice (R-H. Ranch) Pro-gun

    Ken Arnold (R-Westminster) Pro-gun

    Gigi Dennis (R-Pueblo) Pro-gun

    Sally Hopper (R-Golden) Anti-gun

    Ed Perlmutter (D-Wheat Ridge) Anti-gun

    Dorothy Rupert (D-Boulder) Anti-gun

    Bill Thiebaut (R-Pueblo) Anti-gun

The Solution

Call Senate President Tom Norton's office immediately at (303) 866-3342 and ask him to assign any Concealed Carry Bills to the State Affairs Committee, where they at least have a chance to pass. Please be polite and courteous, but let him know that gun owners played an important role in returning Republicans to leadership.

Bill Status

As of 10:00 AM Thursday, only two firearms-related bills have been introduced, which will be detailed in a later fax. Sen. Ken Chlouber (R-Leadville) is expected to introduce his concealed carry bill by mid next week. 

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