Senate hopeful takes handgun class in GJ

By GARY HARMON
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Ryan Frazier, his eyes protected behind yellow-lensed glasses, his knees slightly bent for stability, could have been girding for a hot line drive toward shortstop.

The shot, though, came from his .22-caliber handgun in the dim light of the Colorado Division of Wildlife shooting range at 711 Independent Ave.

Frazier was among six men and eight women taking a National Rifle Association shooting course Saturday in Grand Junction from instructor Linn Armstrong.

The 31-year-old Frazier, an Aurora city councilman, made the shooting course a part of his fifth visit to the Western Slope as he gears up his run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Michael Bennet.

Bennet was appointed to the post by Gov. Bill Ritter when Ken Salazar left it to become the Interior Department secretary.

The shooting course was the first training he’s had in handguns since he was in the U.S. Navy, said Frazier, also a member of the NRA.

It hadn’t missed his notice that Bennet seemed to have been involved in “wink-and-nod“ vote affecting guns, Frazier said.

The Washington Post last week said there appeared to have been an agreement that allowed Bennet and Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., to vote for a measure that ultimately failed.

The measure by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., would have allowed holders of concealed-weapons permits to carry firearms across state lines.

Udall and Bennet, who hadn’t announced how they would vote, voted for it after Bennet met with bill opponent and majority whip Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in the well of the Senate.

“I wasn’t there and can’t begin to know what happened,” Frazier said, but if such an arrangement allowed Bennet and Udall to cast votes of convenience, “it says a lot about a person’s principles.”

Bennet’s spokeswoman said he cast his vote after he “considered its effect on Colorado and came to his own decision.”

Frazier mixed his handgun training with politicking, speaking with supporters in Grand Junction, Delta, Montrose and elsewhere on the Western Slope, discussing the need for fiscal responsibility and restarting the Colorado energy economy.

“My generation and the generations that come after us have the most to lose” if those things don’t happen, he said.

Frazier, a father of three, said he had one regret: that his wife, Kathy, didn’t accompany him.

The personal-safety handgun course would have allowed them to train together, he said, and “would have been great for her.” 


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