Ritter vetoes bill that would ease background checks on gun buyers

Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed a bill that would have allowed holders of concealed-weapons permits to purchase handguns without background checks required of other buyers.

The bill, H.B. 1180 by Rep. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, would have weakened safeguards against illegal purchases, Ritter said.

The veto placed honest gun owners at a disadvantage, though, said King, who said he was “disappointed the governor chose to limit personal safety options” for permit holders.

Ritter cited Amendment 22, approved by voters in 2000, that closed the so-called “gun-show loophole.” The amendment required purchasers at gun shows to undergo background checks as they would at a licensed gun dealer.

“By establishing a criminal background check bypass, this bill reopens the very loophole that Colorado citizens voted overwhelmingly to close less than nine years ago,” Ritter said.

Ritter did nothing to frustrate illegal gun purchases with the veto, King said.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allows the permits to be used in place of criminal background checks.

Permit holders already have met several requirements, among them training classes, FBI fingerprint and background checks, checks with computerized crime-information systems and approval by sheriffs who issue the permits.

“I’ve not met one (felon) who cares a lick about a concealed-carry permit,” King said.

Recognizing permits would also save the state $25 each time that it has to process a permit application for a purchase, King said.


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