Motives concealed in Rep. Wright’s bill
State Rep. Jared Wright seems to have a clear aim for the bill he introduced in the state Legislature to eliminate the requirement for a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon in Colorado. But what he’s targeting, we believe, has little to do with enhancing the Second Amendment rights of Colorado citizens and much more to do with furthering his own political ambitions.
The reason is that Wright’s bill is going nowhere in the Democrat-controlled state Legislature. Wright knows this, his fellow lawmakers know this and virtually every other legislative observer is aware of it. It likely would have been killed last week if a snowstorm hadn’t delayed a hearing on the bill.
But it costs Wright nothing to introduce such a bill. He can return to this side of the mountain and campaign for re-election while telling his constituents, especially those most ardent about gun rights, “Well, I tried to get a bill passed on your behalf, but those dang Democrats at the Legislature and those awful liberals who control the media just wouldn’t let it happen. But I’ll keep fighting the good fight on your behalf.”
Wright isn’t the first lawmaker to cynically introduce or support a bill, knowing full well it has no chance of passing. The problem in his case is, his short career so far has been defined by similarly symbolic measures that have gone nowhere and often have little to do with the needs of his constituents in the Grand Valley. He’s great at grandstanding, but short on accomplishments.
Now to the merits of his concealed-weapons bill itself: Wright argues that it’s an oppressive burden on people to have to apply for a concealed-carry permit, pay some money, participate in handgun training and — oh, the horror! — be forced to undergo a background check to see if they are convicted felons or otherwise prohibited from carrying guns.
But that hardly amounts to a trampling on people’s Second Amendment rights. It is a sound mechanism for providing permits to Coloradans, one that has worked well for more than a decade and has the support of most law enforcement authorities in the state. One would think a former policeman such as Wright would respect their opinions.
It’s laughable when Wright claims his bill does not authorize people to carry concealed guns if they are convicted felons, the mentally ill, juveniles or other people not allowed to possess handguns in Colorado. Without the requirement for a background check, there is, of course, no way to prevent such people from carrying concealed weapons. Although many people who aren’t supposed to have guns already violate the law in carrying them, Wright’s bill would make it easier for them to do so and would make it harder for authorities to challenge them.
It would be frightening, except for the fact that we, like Wright, know his bill is not going anywhere.