Vermont-style permit bill, HB1242, passes --
Poor CCW bill dies in Senate Committee

Feb. 14, 2002 -- Today the House State Affairs Committee passed Rep. Dave Schultheis’ HB1242, the good concealed carry permit bill, by a party line vote of 5-4 (all the committee’s Republicans supported the bill, while all the Democrats opposed it).

Schultheis framed his bill as a step toward “maximizing freedom and minimizing restrictions” on law-abiding Colorado citizens.  The bill contains reciprocity language, including a provision so that Vermont citizens (who have real concealed carry freedom with a permitless system) can exercise their rights to self-protection while in Colorado.

For years the compromisers have been trying to define “gun heroes” but failing miserably – most of their so-called heroes in the legislature are in opposition to real concealed carry reform.  Dave Schultheis, on the other hand, is truly one of those heroes who has shown true grit in sticking to his guns (if you’ll pardon the pun).

You can read a summary of the bill here.

Thanks to all who put pressure on committee members to push this one through, but don’t rest: we’ve got an even bigger battle now.

The bill was passed on to the House Appropriations Committee, where members aren’t as conservative as State Affairs.  We’ll advise when the Appropriations hearing gets closer, but that committee always has a huge backlog of bills.  This could delay HB1242 by as much as a month.

SB60 dead

Much to the dismay of the institutional gun lobby (which has studiously ignored the better concealed carry bill, so as not to appear too “pro-gun”) but not to RMGO, Sen. Ken Chlouber’s SB60 died in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.  We opposed the bill for a great number of reasons, the greatest of which is that this year's debate will greatly affect the battle next year (when we stand a decent chance of passing a bill, given good results from the 2002 elections).

Once again, Chlouber (R-Leadville) tried to sell his bill as a restriction on renegade sheriffs who issue permits without any standards (current state law forces law enforcement to do full background checks and gather fingerprints).  Chlouber even added on an amendment to require applicants to apply only to their sheriff, which would eliminate the one safety valve citizens have right now. 

It was instructive to listen to the pro-gun activists, all of whom supported the concept of concealed carry but few of whom knew the sordid details of this compromise bill and why they should oppose it.  Why did this happen?  Simply put, it is three letters: N R A.  They ignored the better bill, and put all their effort into a sponsor who desperately wanted to pass ANY bill and a bill with dozens of holes.  For dozens of reasons, SB60 was a disaster, but the Colorado State Shooting Association, Firearms Coalition of Colorado, and others paraded up to heap praise on a bill they should have known was a dead duck (and their praises, therefore, only reinforced the bad items of the bill as starting points for next year's battle).

Though SB60’s proponents were willing to give up just about anything to pass the bill, Senate Democrats voted against the bill, and Sen. Mark Hillman (R-Burlington) took several opportunities to voice his displeasure at the bad provisions of the bill.

The Senate Judiciary also killed Sen. Pat Pascoe’s SB155, which would (just like SB60) stop “renegade sheriffs” from issuing permits to citizens outside of their counties.

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