HB1242 dies in Sen. Judiciary, HB1410 to Sen. Agriculture and Appropriations


April 25, 2002 - While the Senate Judiciary killed HB1242, the best concealed carry bill ever offered, the House passed the “Step Backward” concealed carry bill, HB1410.   Senate President Stan Matsunaka (D-Loveland) assigned HB1410 to the Agriculture committee, as well as the Senate Appropriations committee.

Expect HB1410 to be heard by the Agriculture committee on Tuesday, April 30th.

HB1410 a "Step Backward" for Concealed Carry

Many of you may have received mail lauding or read news reports (written by liberals, of course) attacking a concealed carry bill in the legislature. Unfortunately, neither of these perspectives gives you an accurate read on the legislation that just may pass this session.

House Bill 1410, being touted as the "compromise" bill, should be called the Gun Owner Surrender Act. Sponsored by Democrat Rep. Louis Tochtrop and Sen. Ken Chlouber, it is much like the concealed carry bills offered by the middle-of-the-road crowd in the past, with a few new twists: the training requirements are far-and-above the most onerous ever offered in the state legislature, and the permit it creates won't be valid in some areas of Colorado where current permits are valid.

Though gun rights hero State Rep. Dave Schultheis (R - Colo. Springs) is carrying a Vermont-style concealed carry bill that is greatly superior, a handful of anti-gun Democrat legislators have decided to support HB1410, making it more likely to pass.

Why would they do that? First of all, Senate President Stan Matsunaka (D - Loveland) is running for Congress against gun rights stalwart Sen. Marilyn Musgrave. Matsunaka, who has voted against concealed carry in the past, has decided to change his stripes in a blatant attempt at pandering to gun owners. The problem is that he is supporting a bill that has the support of the NRA but the opposition of the rank-and-file gun owners.

If you think this is at least a step forward, consider this: a large number of county sheriffs are now issuing permits in Colorado and rumor is circulating about a number of sheriffs who may be willing to issue statewide. Why, then, should gun rights activists settle for a bill that is a step backward?

House Bill 1410 has a number of fatal flaws. First and foremost is that the bill has very weak preemption language. This means that Denver, or another anti-gun city, may simply refuse to follow the directives of the bill while claiming "homerule" status. And, should HB1410 become law, cities like Denver will most certainly create criminal safezones, where even permit holders are not allowed to carry. What kind of areas would they designate "concealed carry free?" Virtually all city owned property, like sidewalks, roads, city buildings and parks would become areas where criminals can carry, but the permit holder will be forced to leave your weapon in the car or at home. This means that HB1410 may not solve one of the biggest problems in our state: Denver residents can't get permits, and their city is the most dangerous area in our state.

Since HB1410 stops a sheriff or chief from issuing permits outside of his county or city, this bill may just be the death of any chance for Denver residents to carry concealed.

HB1410 also creates a new criminal safezone of its own: public K-12 schools will be an even more dangerous zone, since law-abiding citizens are not allowed the tools of self defense. In the case of another Columbine, adults would have to wait for law enforcement to arrive before protecting students - doesn't that make you feel safe?

Training requirements are also a fatal flaw of HB1410. The House Criminal Justice Committee committed a criminal act itself when it made the already substantial training requirements even more difficult. To get a permit, you must show proof of taking a class - from an NRA certified instructor, of course - within the last 5 years. Veterans must likewise show pistol qualifications within the last 5 years.

That means that you may be a Vietnam veteran, with multiple tours in combat, but government bureaucrats don't trust you to carry concealed without a recent, approved class. Because of the added cost for applicants, this will mean less people will apply for a permit. The only upside is for the NRA: they will now be the government-sanctioned trainers for concealed carry.

You might even have a permit right now, but not have taken a handgun-specific training class in the last 5 years. That means you’d still have to take an NRA handgun course to get a new permit under HB1410.

HB1410 also requires the logging of your fingerprints. A deputy sheriff who handles issuing concealed weapons permits said his department currently only takes fingerprints because the law requires it - the background check itself is more than sufficient to verify that the applicant is law-abiding. When you apply for a permit via HB1410, your fingerprints are run through an FBI computer - and kept in their system for good. It creates a useful list of gun owners, which is the reason gun prohibitionists seek to require fingerprints: it makes a perfect list for government to confiscate firearms.

As Larimer County Sheriff Jim Alderden testified in committee, this bill is a step backward. Unless HB1410's major flaws can be corrected, this will be Colorado's concealed carry law for quite some time, if not forever. Few states have ever cleaned up a bad concealed carry law, a prospect we do not want to face.

This bill also allows sheriffs to deny the permit based on information obtained from their department, or other information that is "documentable." But this gives the permit applicant no method to cross-examine his/her accusers, seomthing that should be reprehensible to all Americans. Gun owners should have learned our lesson when Colorado's Brady Registration check was changed to allow a denial based on arrest, not conviction. This discretion allows sheriffs, who are already abusing their discretion by not issuing permits widely, to treat permit applicants as guilty until proven innocent.

And for those who already have permits, HB1410 voids them. This is a disservice to those who have spent their time and money to get a permit, only to have that permit revoked.

Scariest of all is that Senate Democrats are threatening to add unsafe storage requirements onto HB1410. Given the history of those involved, who are absolutely desperate to pass anything at any cost as long as the title says "concealed carry", we simply can't rely on them to resist attempts at turning this bill into an even bigger vehicle for gun control.

What can you do about it? Call your State Senator at 303-866-2316 immediately and tell him or her to fix House Bill 1410, or to kill it.  We'd rather have the current law and take our chances that the next election brings us a more pro-gun State Senate than pass 1410.

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