Not surprisingly, state Sen. John Morse has gotten an earful. We’re talking about guns, after all. A Democrat and former police chief, Morse has been informed he should not have the “right” to introduce gun legislation. “”I respectfully disagree,” he says.
And, Democrats all want to pass restrictive gun laws. “I disagree with such generalizations,” Morse says.
And, people who want to carry their guns packed away from plain view in Colorado should be able to get their permits from another state, like Florida, where it’s cheaper and easier. “I also disagree with that premise,” says Morse, sponsor of Senate Bill 34, to require Colorado residents who want to carry concealed weapons have a permit issued in Colorado, where they happen to live.
“This is just common sense,” Morse says. In 2003, a statewide bill was passed that allows people to apply to their local sheriff for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Their criminal records are processed through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, which is able to check several databases to make sure the applicant hasn’t been convicted of felonies, does not have a restraining order, or potential mental health problems. However, people can currently obtain their permits from other states, like Florida, where the requirements may not be as stringent as in Colorado, which requires firearms training and extensive criminal background checks.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation Agent in Charge Susan Kitchen said that, since Colorado’s concealed weapons law passed, her agency has processed 30,000 applications, and returned 863 to sheriffs as potential rejects. In addition, 104 were denied.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who also testified in favor of Morse’s bill on Monday, noted that states that issue mail order permits do not have access to all of Colorado’s criminal databases.
“It sounds like this bill is a solution in search of a problem,” Fabian said, echoing exactly the words of letter to the editor writer Justin Otis in this Sunday’s Colorado Springs Gazette.
“We’re not talking about public safety, but an issue of power and authority,” Fabian said. Specifically, Morse only offered up one anecdotal incident where an out-of-state concealed weapons holder, denied permits in Colorado, had scared his classmates when he brought a Glock to a Front Range Community College class.
At one point during the testimony, Fabian claimed that law enforcement simply don’t like the “fact” that people are circumventing Colorado’s system, drawing this question from Judiciary Commission Chairman Sen. Brandon Shaffer: “That doesn’t bother you?”
And Dudley Brown, of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, argued that some women may not want their ex-spouses or boyfriends to know that they have a concealed weapons permit, because their past abusers might view it as a “challenge” to them. Some women, he said, may want to go out of state for a permit, to avoid their name appearing on Colorado’s list of permit holders.
Morse ultimately got the bill passed out of committee on a 4-3 party line vote.
Cara DeGette is a longtime Colorado journalist and a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential. E-mail her at email@example.com.