Chlouber concealed carry advances
Preemption passes first Senate floor vote

Feb. 21, 2003 - This morning the Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB24 by Sen. Ken Chlouber (R-Leadville) to the full Senate.  Senate Bill 63 by Sen. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo. Springs) was held over at the request of the sponsor for a simple reason: right now, we don’t have the votes to pass it out of the Senate.

Chlouber’s concealed carry bill fraught with problems

However, RMGO worked with several Senators to add language to SB24 (while in the State Affairs Committee) to add an amendment that would prohibit a statewide database of permit holders.  Two other amendments failed: one to get rid of the outrageous requirement in SB24 to have training within the last 5 years; the other to make hunter safety training as the lowest level of training required.

These three issues are incredibly important to gun owners: allowing government bureaucrats to create a statewide database of permit holders is tantamount to another gun owner registration scheme.

There is another issue that is rather large: SB24 clumsily does a dance about private property (page 25, starting at line 17), leaving a gaping hole for attorneys to create new criminal safezones.

There is no need for a concealed carry bill to give private property owners the ability to control their own property, as there is a long history of Colorado law that defines the rights and obligations of private property owners.  What SB24’s language could do is give quasi-governmental entities, like Coors field, the ability to create their own criminal safezone.  This entire provision of SB24 needs to be removed.

Senate Bill 24 has other problems: it creates K-12 public schools as a new criminal safezone, though it does allow parents to carry in their vehicles while picking up their kids; it gathers fingerprints when there is really no need (background checks rarely turn up more with fingerprints); it is expensive ($100 plus fingerprint fees for a 4 year permit, not to mention the cost for required training); and it sunsets existing permits early.

Part of the problem is that Sen. Chlouber is doing everything possible to keep the Sheriff's Association happy.  The last time we checked, the sheriff's association doesn’t have a vote in the Colorado legislature, and if sheriffs as a whole had agreed upon a good concealed carry policy, we wouldn’t need this change in law.  In other words, it is the sheriffs that brought us to this point by not issuing permits -- they shouldn't be setting law, as Chlouber is allowing them to do.

Legislation is like a snowball rolling downhill: it gathers speed but it also gathers junk that it picks up along the way.  After a while, few pay attention to what is inside that snowball, as most only see the surface.  NRA members are often unwitting victims of this principle, reading the headlines of a bill and trusting an organization to give them straight scoop.  They may as well place their trust in junk bonds.

The requirement to have training within the last 5 years is one of those pieces of junk.  For the first 8 years of concealed carry battles (the first concealed carry bill in modern history was run in 1994, when Chlouber and then-State Rep. Drew Clark both ran bills) this requirement was never mentioned, but in 2001 a well-meaning witness to a concealed carry bill let fly a wild idea: Bob Meyer, an Arapahoe County Republican activist and a certified firearms trainer, thought EVERYONE should have refresher courses in firearms use and safety.  Either arrogance (“There are too many stupid people with guns” attitude) or naiveté led him to suggest this new requirement, and now it has become a part of the snowball.

The problem is that once it is in the bill it is difficult to remove.  We’re doing our best to get rid of this requirement, but for now we can only say “Thanks, Bob.”

Why are things so difficult to remove from the bill?  Though we can give clear and convincing arguments for changes we would like to make to Chlouber’s bill, the fact is that logic is not dictating anything – politics is the driving force.

The Governor wants to pass a concealed carry bill, but he wants one so mucked up with concessions to the anti-gun lobby that even Tom Mauser should be happy with it.

The difference is that our side (other than RMGO and GOA) doesn’t push, they only give ground.  SAFE, Ceasefire and the rest of the gun ban group pushes and pushes, and once they get what they want, they push more.  They NEVER settle.  Unfortunately, the NRA always settles, long before the battle even happens.

On top of that factor is that the NRA isn’t representing its members: it is representing the Governor.  On our web page is a picture of NRA State Liasion Maryanne Bradfield talking with a member of the governor’s staff

More updates later.


Preemption passes initial Senate approval

On Wednesday the Senate passed SB25, the preemption bill, by Sen. Jim Dyer.  The 18 Senators who voted for the bill are the minimum to pass it in a 35 member chamber.  All Republicans voted for the bill except Lewis Entz and Ken Arnold.  Democrats voting for the bill were Bob Hagedorn and Jim Isgar.

Preemption means local ordinances on gun issues couldn't be enacted by city councils, county commissioners, or any other such government entities below the state.  This bill would overturn Denver's assault weapons ban, get rid of Boulder's silly new municipal gun controls, nullify Denver's brandishing law, just to name a few.

A quick note: Sen. Ken Arnold signed a 1996 GOA candidate survey, pledging not only to vote for preemption (and Vermont-style concealed carry, which he is now opposing) but also to SPONSOR it.   On Wednesday Arnold voted against the bill.  Obviously that pledge was a lie – though Arnold is term-limited, we will be watching should he try to run for any other offices.

You can view his pledge online (if you have Adobe Acrobat installed) by clicking here.

The full Senate will have a final vote on SB25 next week.

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