Concealed gun proposal dies in party vote

Gun owners who were hoping to conceal their handguns without having to get a concealed-weapons permit will have to continue to wear them in the open.

A bill that would have allowed all legal gun carriers to conceal their weapons was shot down by a Senate committee Tuesday.

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, told the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee that it made no sense for people who can lawfully carry firearms in the open to suddenly find themselves in violation of the law if they put on a jacket covering it up.

Besides, he said research shows that people who live in states that allow more concealed weapons are safer.

But the three Democrats on the five-member committee said they aren’t buying proponents’ arguments that having more people walking around with concealed weapons has anything to do with making a state safer from criminal activity. As a result, the measure died in a 3–2 party-line vote.

Proponents tried to argue states such as Vermont, Alaska and Arizona have similar laws and have not seen an increase in gun violence as a result. Rather, the opposite has occurred, they said.

“Vermont has consistently been among the top five safest states in the country since they passed this constitutional-carry legislation,” Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day told the committee. “Citizens being free to easily carry guns would repel criminals. The people that we in law enforcement are really concerned about don’t make their decisions based on what rules are in place. They base their decisions on whom they are considering victimizing.”

Opponents, meanwhile, said there is nothing wrong with the way the state’s law is working.

Amy Miller, public policy director with the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said allowing people to conceal weapons without a permit would allow them to avoid having a background check that might prohibit them from owning a weapon in the first place.

“We feel that the safety of victims and the public depends in part on reasonable prohibitions like those that we already have in place through concealed-carry requirements,” she said. “The system that we have currently in this state seems to work well to grant permits to those who qualify, prohibit those who are disqualified, and revoke those who become disqualified after issuance. I don’t see that we have a problem.”



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