Wright’s gun permit bill is killed

DENVER — The House Judiciary Committee made quick work of Rep. Jared Wright’s bill to do away with permits for carrying a concealed weapon.

They killed it within minutes of it coming up “for action only” Tuesday on a straight 7-4 party-line vote, with Democrats saying, thanks, but no thanks.

“I believe in this legislation,” the Fruita Republican told the committee. “I believe in empowering the citizens to practice their constitutional rights to keep and bear arms for their safety, and for the safety and defense of their families.”

Last week, the committee listened to hours of testimony for and against HB1041, but didn’t vote because several lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle were forced to leave because of the weekend snowstorm.

But only with quick comments from Wright and Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker, who introduced the bill with Wright, the committee took that vote with little discussion.

Earlier in the day, House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said such bills are common, and routinely fail regardless of which party is in charge.

In 2012, a similar measure died in the same committee when Republicans held the majority.

That year, the measure was sponsored by two GOP lawmakers, but died on a bipartisan vote.

Wright and Holbert argued, in part, that it can cost several hundred dollars to obtain a permit.

Under current law, gun owners who want to carry a concealed weapon must obtain a permit from the sheriff’s office in the county in which they live. The permit costs $52.50, but it also requires the requester to have a criminal history background check, a fingerprint check, pay an administrative fee and pay for and attend a certification course to show that they have received the needed training on handling firearms.

Those fees vary by county.

On Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee killed a bill to repeal a law approved last year to require background checks on all gun purchases. Like Wright’s bill, it is one of several other gun bills that Democrats are expected to kill this session.

Ferrandino said that’s partly because his party plans to stand behind the measures it approved last year.

“We are going to continue to defend and push what we think is right around public safety,” he said. “If there are tweaks, we’re always open if they don’t undermine what we are intending to do. All the bills will move through the process and get a fair hearing.”


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