Senate Bill 83 not a fix for Concealed Carry problem in Colorado

Thursday, Feb. 8, 2001 -- Once again, the Colorado legislature is debating a so-called “Concealed Carry” bill.  And like previous years, the bill offered is a disaster.

Senate Bill 83 is likely to be heard by the Colorado Senate’s Judiciary Committee in the next few days, where it will be made even worse than its current form.  With or without amendments, this bill is a huge step backward for Coloradans, especially those who already have a permit.

SB83 creates a number of Criminal Safezones, where even permit holders could not carry.  Though the current law allows permit holders to carry in these areas, SB83 would strip citizens of the right to carry in these areas:

  • Schools (elementary, middle, junior or high school; public or private)

  • Government buildings (any building with any state or local government office) such as a mall (some have drivers license offices or other government departments housed inside)

  • Any high school, college, university or professional athletic event

  • Anyplace where alcohol is served (current state law allows permit holders to carry concealed but not be intoxicated)

If you live in El Paso, Larimer, or any number of counties that are issuing permits, this bill is your worst nightmare: it gets rid of your permit and stops you from carrying in areas where you can carry now.

Rather than start from a position of strength, SB83 begins as a bill with most of the worst possible aspects.  Indeed, it might be a shorter list for SB83 to delineate where citizens can carry concealed, as the list of Criminal Safezones – where thugs and murderers like Klebold and Harris can operate with relative impunity – covers so many areas.

The bill also creates a new statewide database of permit holders administered by our friends at the CBI – you know, the organization responsible for the barrage of denials and long waits on Brady checks.

CBI has been trying to consolidate power for years: this bill gives Colorado’s version of the FBI a new list of gun owners to go along with their Brady purchasers list.  If you think that can’t happen here, ask an Australian, Canadian or English citizen: databases of gun owners are what government used to confiscate firearms in their countries.  We believe that to deny law enforcement these lists now will provide an almost insurmountable obstacle to gun-confiscators in the future.

Why not simply put the issuing department’s phone number on the permit so law enforcement can verify its validity?  Instead, we consolidate yet another piece of information in a State-level law enforcement bureaucrats’ hands.

The bill also incorporates into Colorado law the federal Lautenburg Gun Ban, where citizens convicted of so-called domestic violence charges – such as a wife yelling at her husband or a parent spanking a child – cannot obtain the permit.

Besides charging far more than is necessary to do the background checks for the permits – this bill allows sheriffs to charge more than $100 for the permit and fingerprints – it also sets up the NRA as the only private organization allowed to certify the government-mandated training required in the bill.  It should be little wonder why the NRA pushes  training requirements: they line the pockets of the NRA with money coerced from citizens who may or may not need the training to protect themselves but are required by law to get a piece of paper.  This also gives credence to the notion that the NRA is setting itself up to be the government-sanctioned rationing agency for our gun rights, a claim long held by many who are closely associated with NRA activities.

RMGO has never been opposed to voluntary training – in fact, we have offered to set up a voluntary program for CCW applicants.  Are citizens allowed to voice their political opinions without government-mandated training?  Why should exercising our Second Amendment rights be any different than our other God-given rights?

Finally, the bill gives sheriffs an “out.”  Sheriffs can deny permits to someone who they deem “presents a danger to himself or others,” which to many law enforcement means anyone not in their department.  This turns a “shall issue” bill back into a “may issue.

Chlouber, though often well-intentioned, is driven by “bill fever,” where politicians desperately want to pass bills regardless of the cost, a very common ailment of state legislators.  The bill is likely to get worse in committee, where Democrats hold a majority and can amend the bill into an even worse measure, all the time threatening to kill it without the amendments.  And you can be sure that any change for the worse is likely to be sold to gun owners as “what is needed to get a bill passed.”  Thanks, but we’ll take the current law rather than “solve” our problems with more gun control.

What you can do: Call these members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and urge them to defeat this sham of a concealed carry bill.  Let them know that we’d rather have the current law, which allows sheriffs to issue on their own terms, than create Criminal Safezones that leave citizens defenseless.

Be certain to call the Republican members, who might think they are doing the right thing by supporting a concealed carry bill; they need to know that this bill is not a solution to Colorado’s carrying concealed problems.

Chairman, Senator Ken Gordon (D – Denver)            303-866-4875
Vice Chair, Senator Doug Linkhart (D – Denver)      303-866-4861
Sen. Ken Arnold (R – Adams)                                    303-866-4876
Sen. Jim Dyer (R - Arapahoe)                                    303-866-4866
Sen. Rob Hernandez (D – Denver)                             303-866-4862
Sen. Mark Hillman (R - Burlington)                            303-866-6360
Sen. Sue Windels (D – Arvada)                                   303-866-4840

From outside the metro area, you can call toll free at 1-888-473-8136

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