House sponsor gun owners enemy; Assault weapons ban proposed; Wray Police Chief shuts down permit operations

House sponsor gun owners enemy;
Assault weapons ban proposed;
Wray Police Chief shuts down permit operations

Thursday, Jan. 15, 1998 -- For the fifth year in a row, State Senator Ken Chlouber (R-Leadville) has introduced a concealed carry bill, and this year he brings one of our arch enemies to the table.

Chlouber chooses anti-gun State Rep. Russ George as House Sponsor
Senate Bill 81 was introduced by Chlouber this week, marking his 5th consecutive session carrying a bill to change Colorado's concealed carry law.

Chlouber, however, could not use last year's House Sponsor, Larry Schwarz, because Schwarz resigned his seat to take an appointment with Governor Roy Romer, a move that has gun owners questioning Schwarz's motives. Schwarz actively opposed any efforts to make last year's over-restrictive concealed carry bill better. Enter Russ George (R-Rifle), considered one of Colorado's most liberal Republicans and a candidate to replace Speaker Chuck Berry in the top House leadership position.

Russ George sponsored a bill (SB95-067, with fellow liberal Sen. Dottie Wham) to make carrying concealed without a permit a felony. That means that any rancher caught with a loaded pistol under his seat or the nurse driving home from a late shift would be guilty of a felony. The bill also required a "need" be shown by permit applicants. Fortunately, the bill was killed in committee, where even Wham could not find enough liberals to support her anti-concealed carry bill. It does, however, show Rep. George's extreme anti-gun views.

Just yesterday, George voted to increase the penalties for illegal hunting of trophy game to a mandatory $25,000 in addition to the normal penalty (HB1039) with no discretion allowed by the judge (the original bill had a $5,000 fine, but George amended it to the much higher amount).

George's voting record on gun issues is quite clear:

1997: Opposed efforts to remove centralized database and gov't mandated training requirements
1996: Opposed Rep. Musgrave's "Vermont Law" amendment to HB1178
1995: Joined Wham in an attempt to make carrying without a permit a felony (SB67)
1994: Opposed both concealed carry bills (Chlouber's HB1076 & fmr. Rep Clark's HB1025)

Call Senator Chlouber (303-866-4866) to tell him you are appalled by his selection of a Sponsor and that selecting such an anti-gun ally jeopardizes gun owners' support for this bill.

Assault Weapons ban introduced in Colorado House
House Bill 1181, sponsored by Rep. Dan Grossman, would ban the sale, ownership or possession of an "assault weapon" in Colorado. It was assigned to the House Judiciary Committee, where gun owners have few friends. Stay tuned for more information on this bill.

Police Chief's chain jerked, Wray City Council says stop
Shortly after it began, it was over. The Wray City Council stopped Police Chief Bowman from issuing permits statewide, instead only allowing him to process applications from their municipality. Though publicly the Chief says the pressure came from his council, insiders speculate that the Colorado Sheriffs (many known for their anti-gun stances and strong arm tactics) may have used their power to force the shutdown.

Wray, Colorado Police Chief Issuing Concealed Carry Permits Statewide

Wray, Colorado Police Chief Issuing Concealed Carry Permits Statewide

Tuesday, Jan. 6, 1998 -- A Colorado law enforcement officer has stepped up to the plate, and begun issuing concealed permits to any Colorado resident.

Chief Bowman first law enforcement official to issue permits statewide
Wray Police Chief Mark Bowman has decided to issue permits to Colorado residents who pay $100 for the first year (renewals are $25) or $150 for couples. The 4 page application requires all the information you might expect from a permit system, and puts the applicant through a Criminal Background check.

State law (18-12-105.1) makes this permit valid statewide (check out our web site for more info).

There are training requirements, but they are minimal. Hunter Safety training, military or law enforcement training, or private handgun training is needed.

If you want a permit, call the Wray Police Department at (970) 332-4802 and request your concealed carry permit application. They will send you the application and a fingerprint card.

Wray Police Department staff report that they receive 30 - 80 application requests a day, and expect it to increase.

Police Chief's action pressures Chlouber, legislature to give us a real Concealed Carry Bill
The Colorado General Assembly begins its 120-day session tomorrow, and though the Legislature has largely the same members as last year's session (as well as the same anti-gun Governor), insiders expect these new permits issued by Wray to be another driving force to pass a strong concealed carry bill.

Last year, Sen. Ken Chlouber (R - Leadville) introduced a weak concealed carry bill which eventually was vetoed by Gov. Romer. In the process of passing that bill, Chlouber and easily compromised institutional gun lobbies struck a deal with our arch-enemy, Sen. Dottie Wham (R - Denver), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. That deal added "criminal safezones" to the bill, which effectively made the permit worthless (When the city of Denver outlawed permit holders from carrying in city streets, sidewalks, parks, and other properties, a permit had little meaning). Only through your efforts, by postcards, phonecalls, and petitions, did Chlouber and other "pro-gun" politicians remove those offensive provisions.

When the bill reached the House, the bill still was the most expensive permit in the country, had no provision to allow citizens to carry in their car without a permit, had state-mandated training (as opposed to the safer voluntary training, determined by each individual) and a centalized database of permit holders that could be used to track gun owners.

Chlouber and House Sponsor Larry Schwarz (who proceeded to take a job with Governor Romer) opposed all amendments to the bill, including our efforts to turn it into a Vermont-style law (no permit needed for law-abiding citizens). The vote on the amendments to clean up this disastrous bill failed, but served as a good litmus test to determine whether politicians were truly pro-gun, or merely trying to use gun owners for their own political ambitions (see our web page or newsletter for those votes).

This year, the danger is that some policitians may push hard to pass a statewide law which shuts down the ability of local police departments to issue permits statewide. Wray's rather lenient permits now set the standard, and gun owners should demand nothing more restrictive from the legislature.

1998 General Election Results

GOP loses ground in State House, holds numbers in State Senate;
Gun owners gain numbers but enemy elected as House Speaker

Thursday, November 5, 1998 -- The 1998 General Elections were a mixed bag for gun rights supporters when conservatives won many races but liberal anti-gun Speaker was elected to the top position in the Colorado House of Representatives.

Tuesday elections improves pro-gun numbers in the Senate, House
Though Republican lost a total of 1 seat in the Colorado House (from 41-24 to 40-25) and Senate Republicans remained at 20-15, pro-gun forces made substantial gains.

Staunch gun rights supporter Mark Hillman was elected to the Colorado Senate from SD 2 (eastern and southeastern Colorado) to replace term-limited Democrat Jim Rizzuto. Moving from the House to the Senate was gun rights heroine Marilyn Musgrave from SD 1 (Northeastern Colorado) and retired Airborne Col. Dave Owen from SD16 (Greeley). Other Vermont-style concealed carry supporters elected were Ron Teck, who replaced termed Tillie Bishop from SD 7 (Western Slope) and John Evans from SD30 (Douglas County and surrounding area).

Though Republicans did not gain any seats, the election of these conservatives marks a sharp move to the right. They will join Senators Jim Congrove (who ran unsuccessfully for Lt. Governor in the middle of his term) and Doug Lamborn to wait for the appointment of a replacement for State Senator and Treasurer-elect Mike Coffman. Rumor has touted staunch conservative John Andrews as a possible replacement, adding further to pro-gun numbers.

In the House, 100% gun rights supporters elected this year include longtime gun activist Scott McKay (Lakewood), RMGO member Lauri Clapp (Englewood), Shawn Mitchell (Northglenn), Joe Nunez (Highlands Ranch), Rob Fairbank (Lakewood), Don Lee (Littleton), Lynn Hefley (Colo. Springs) and Joe Stengel (Littleton). They join gun rights hero Mark Paschall (Arvada), libertarian Penn Pfiffner (Lakewood) and Doug Dean (Colo. Springs) in House pro-gun caucus.

New House Speaker a Wham Ally
Though House Republicans elected Vermont Law supporter Rep. Doug Dean as Majority Leader, they gave the top position to anti-gun liberal Russell George, considered one of Colorado's most liberal Republican elected officials.

Even more alarming to gun rights supporters is George's ties to Sen. Dottie Wham. George was the House sponsor of a 1995 bill to make carrying concealed without a permit a felony! Expect House Speaker Russ George to do his best to ruin any concealed carry bill in the upcoming legislative session.

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