Preemption to be voted upon by full Senate

Jan. 16, 2003 - SB25 by Sen. Jim Dyer (R-Littleton) would stop cities and counties from passing firearms-related ordinances that are stricter than state law. In legalese, it means that the State of Colorado would "occupy the field of law" in this area.

The problem is that, right now, local governments can and do use the legal status of "home rule" to push the gun control agenda they haven't been able to accomplish at the state legislature. Passing a preemption law would stop them from enacting new gun controls on the local level. However, it would not stop the state from enacting restrictions: our State Constitution is supposed to do that.

The bill passed the Senate Judiciary on Monday on a party line vote, but not before longtime State Patrolman and author of the Colorado Brady Act's "Guilty until proven innocent" provision, Sen. Ken Arnold (R-Westminster), added an amendment onto the bill that dooms open carry in the state.

Arnold's amendment allowed cities to ban the firing of guns within their boundaries (not a big deal, as few would want to violate this provision for any reason other than celebration), and to ban open carry as well. This means any city can pass an ordinance similar to Denver's (and many other municipalities) that would ban openly carrying a firearm, even while in a holster. It would have to be in a container, presumably on their way to a range.

SB25 is still good. It would - "may" would be a more accurate term, since courts will certainly interpret the bill - overturn Denver's and Vail's ban on assault weapons as well as Denver's brandishing law (possibly). But with Arnold's amendment, cities and counties could still ban open carry, a major consideration. It would also force Denver into recognizing a measure passed in the 2000 session, which allows the carrying of weapons in vehicles while traveling.

Preemption, such as written in this bill, is helpful, especially considering Colorado is likely to pass a concealed carry law in this session (more on these in a second Alert).

While both concealed carry bills have some form of preemption, SB25 would make it stronger.

We urge you to call your Senator this week (rumor has it that SB25 will be heard on the Senate floor as early as Friday morning) at 1-888-473-8136 (or 303-866-2316 for metro area callers).

Urge your State Senator to remove the open carry provision of the Arnold amendment and pass SB25.

If you aren't sure of your Senator, or want to find their e-mail address, go to:

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