House floor to hear SB96; Last chance for you to be heard

Thursday, April 24, 1997 -- Senate Bill 96 will be heard by the House floor on Friday, April 25, completing its final steps before going to Governor Romer's desk.

SB96 needs fixing

Since this bill will certainly pass the House, our last chance to make much-needed changes is here.

Rather than allow the politicians to steer this bill, RMGO and GOA have worked endlessly to improve this concealed carry bill. Instead of backroom deals (the kind of deals that gave us Dottie Wham's "Criminal Safezones") we have relied on you to put pressure on lawmakers -- and we win when that happens. If we sit back now, and let this bill pass, we have only ourselves to blame for its anti-freedom provisions.

The "just pass this bill, then fix it later" strategy has proven itself to be a failure: Just this year, both Texas and Montana legislatures have killed efforts at improving their concealed carry laws, and both failures have been at the hands of supposed "pro-gun" lawmakers who don't want tough votes in their legislature.

House floor to vote on "Vermont Law" and other freedom issues

Allowing citizens to carry without government permission is the only concealed carry law that truly recognizes our Second Amendment rights, and lawmakers should be forced to vote on it.

Given the probability that Roy Romer will veto this bill (Gov. Graves of Kansas, a Republican, just vetoed a concealed carry bill this week, and he isn't the chairman of the liberal Democratic National Committee) we should not hesitate to do everything we can to fix this bill.

A vote on the "Vermont Law" or other provisions will not kill this bill: that vote didn't kill the bill in 1996 or 1995. That is merely a scare tactic by politicians who don't want to vote on something tough. They'll use any means possible to avoid this vote, so be ready for them. There is no reason for pro-gun lawmakers to vote against "Vermont."

Fix this bill

1. Urge your representative to reinstate the ability to carry concealed in a vehicle without a permit. Current law only allows those "traveling" to carry concealed without a permit. This bill doesn't address this issue, but it should.

2. Urge lawmakers to lower fee. The fee is too high. Gun owners already pay huge taxes when they purchase a weapon, and don't need to fatten up police departments with excessive permit fees. Some states who do a background check charge as little as $8 a year, instead of this bill's fee of $125 for three years (the applicant must pay the fingerprinting fee himself, as well).

3. Urge lawmakers to remove centralized registration. This bill currently gives the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, our state's FBI, the task of keeping the records of permit holders. Since Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police issue the permits, there is no reason to have all the records in one area, except to build a database of gun-owning citizens. Confirmation of a valid concealed carry permit is doesn't need to happen with CBI: just put the phone number of the issuing agency on the permit.

Call your State Representative today

Call your State Representative at (303) 866-2904. Tell him/her to vote for the "Vermont Law," and, if that fails, to vote for the above improvements. Remember, nothing happens in politics unless it's pushed.

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.

Romer vetoes weak concealed carry bill

Friday, May 16, 1997 -- Today, Colorado Governor vetoed SB96, a bill to allow law-abiding citizens to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

"Governor Romer couldn't even sign this sad excuse for a concealed carry bill," said RMGO Executive Director Dudley Brown. "Romer showed his true anti-freedom stripes by vetoing Senate Bill 96."

S.B. 96 would have established statewide criteria for sheriffs and chiefs of police to issue concealed weapons permits to qualified citizens.

The bill, however, had several anti-gun measures that survived attempts at removing them in the House. At $42 per year, S.B. 96 would have been the most expensive permit in the United States. It also contained provisions for centralized record keeping, a move long opposed by gun rights activists.

"The state of Vermont allows any law-abiding citizen to carry without prior permission from big brother," Brown said. "I don't think it is a coincidence that Vermont is the safest state in the nation."

"Even the hoops and hurdles of S.B. 96 didn't satisfy Romer," continued Brown. "Romer wanted applicants to show a need for the permit, but that need may be fifteen seconds before you are attacked. Plainly, Romer thinks citizens shouldn't be allowed to protect themselves."

"This won't be the last time the legislature considers this measure," concluded Brown.

This is the fourth year in a row that the Colorado legislature has considered measures to change laws concerning permitting the carrying of concealed weapons. 1997 is the first year a bill has made it to the Governor's desk.

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