A bill that would have allowed anyone able to purchase a handgun in Colorado to conceal the weapon was shot down in the State and Military Affairs Committee today, as Democrats found requiring individuals to carry a permit a burden easy enough to bear. Republicans pleaded that many who might not be able to afford a permit or were uncomfortable taking classes would be restricted from taking part in the concealed carry program.
The bill, which had passed out of the House with Republican and some Democratic support, would have allowed anyone who is able to pass a Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check when purchasing a handgun to conceal a handgun on their person. The bill also would have allowed individuals to carry a concealed gun in most areas of Colorado except for public K-12 schools and restricted areas where detection devices are in place.
Republican sponsor Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said the bill was needed to help individuals like his daughter who he said was harassed last year in college. He said she was unable to move freely with the handgun he gave her, thus impeding her ability to be protected.
Many others testified that when law-abiding citizens are not provided the ability to carry concealed weapons, only the criminals would be hiding their weapons.
“Criminals don’t care whether they break the law,” Brophy said. “Law-abiding young ladies do.”
However, despite Brophy and other individuals testifying in favor of the bill and its perceived benefits for women, Democrats sided with law enforcement agents who were concerned that they would be unable to discern whether individuals stopped for traffic violations were carrying guns.
Sen. Bob Bacon, D-Fort Collins, championed their cause during the committee debate and explained that “law-abiding citizen” is a shifting term.
“I hear a lot about law-abiding citizens,” Bacon said. “I don’t think that the condition or application of law-abiding citizen is a permanent condition. Anyone of us at any time can alter our usual condition.”
Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, said the bill needed to be passed to help victims of violent crimes.
“If we are not helping these people not be victims, aren’t we advocating against them,” Cadman said.
Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, disagreed with Cadman’s characterization.
“All’s we are doing is asking someone to get a permit. I guess in my mind I don’t think that is too much to ask,” Heath said. “I think overwhelmingly I would veer on the side of someone getting a permit. If we were dealing with the ability to get a permit to concealed carry I think we would have a different discussion going on here.”
The committee voted down the bill 3-2 on a party-line vote.