Concealed-carry bill for guns heads to final House vote

The Colorado House gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a measure that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons concealed as well as in the open without a permit.

HB1205 would not do away with the permits that sheriffs now issue for concealed carry, but people would no longer need to buy them.

Democrats opposed the measure, in part, because it would mean gun owners would be required to police themselves. They said people convicted of a felony or a domestic-violence misdemeanor, who aren’t allowed to own weapons in the state as a result, will start concealing handguns, too.

“Allowing just anyone to carry a concealed weapon would make our communities less safe,” said Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora. “This bill means that there’ll be no more background checks. This bill means that there’s going to be no more training.”

Under current law, anyone legally allowed to own a weapon can carry it in the open. To conceal it, people must get permits from sheriffs in counties where they live. They must take a training course, which could cost as much as $150, have their applications notarized and have their fingerprints and pictures taken. Cost of the permits can vary, but the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department charges $50 for the permit and $52.50 for the fingerprinting and an FBI background check.

Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, who introduced the bill, said all those fees are nothing more than a tax on gun ownership that people shouldn’t have to pay.

Other Republicans said it would enhance public safety, not jeopardize it.

“This isn’t about decreasing public safety in any way,” said Rep. Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs. “I would challenge somebody to bring some statistical data to show us that truly carrying concealed without a permit versus carrying concealed with a permit in some way affects public safety. It doesn’t.”

The bill is expected to clear the House, where Republicans have a 33–32 majority. A vote on it could come as early as today, but its future in the Senate is uncertain. There, Democrats have a 20–15 majority.


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