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Senate bill to allow concealed carry without permit passes GOP-led committee

February 16, 2017 Updated: February 17, 2017 at 6:08 am
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A Republican-led state Senate committee gave a party-line nod to a bill that would allow Coloradans to legally tuck away a gun without getting a concealed carry permit.

Keep the safety on your high hopes, gun-rights supporters. If Senate Bill 116 passes the Senate Finance Committee and ultimately weathers the 18-17 Republican majority on the floor, it faces certain death before the Democrats' 37-28 majority in the House.

Still, it reminds voters who is on which side of the gun issue.

Republicans Ray Scott of Grand Junction, Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs and Jerry Sonnenberg of Sterling were for scrapping the permits on concealed weapons. Democrats Lois Court of Denver and Steve Fenberg of Boulder were against it.

"If you're legally eligible to possess a firearm, you should be able to carry that weapon concealed for self-defense without begging for government's permission," said Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, the bill's sponsor.

He called it "common-sense legislation."

Mary Parker of Ken Caryl, who has a concealed-carry permit, opposed the bill. She said there's not enough training required now to carry a gun, and allowing untrained people to walk around armed won't end well.

"Common sense tells me that just like more cars on the roads means more car accidents, more guns in our communities means more gun accidents," she said.

Parker said new people allowed to carry concealed weapons won't have any training at all to prove their competency.

"Let's not give concealed carry permits to people who are unwilling to take a basic gun-safety course," Parker said.

Other than Denver, most other cities in Colorado allow open carry.

Dan Murphy, representing Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, reiterated Neville's point that permits are constitutionally dubious and pointless.

"When I'm lawfully open-carrying my legally owned firearm that I did undergo a background check to purchase, putting my coat on does not suddenly make it any more dangerous and should not be punishable under the law," he said.

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