Colorado counties declare themselves '2nd Amendment sanctuaries' in response to red-flag gun bill

Lisa Marie Pane

the associated press In this April 25, 2018 photo, a .9mm handgun produced by Honor Defense, a gunmaker in Gainesville, Ga., is displayed. (AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

DENVER • A Republican lawmaker’s bid to keep Coloradans authorized to use medical marijuana from being deprived of the right to own and carry firearms was rejected Wednesday by Democrats.

Senate Bill 93, proposed by state Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, died along party lines in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. She said the Democrats’ decision to kill the bill was unfair to medical marijuana users, but not unexpected.

“They don’t want to pass a gun bill,” Marble said of the committee, on which she also sits. “Anything to do with guns they’re not going to vote on.”

The bill was intended to protect anyone with concealed carry permit from losing it if they were licensed to use medical marijuana, Marble told the committee. It also would have kept anyone from automatically being denied a concealed carry permit solely because they use medical marijuana.

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Currently sheriff’s offices can revoke permits if holders are granted a medical marijuana cards and they can deny applicants who hold a medical marijuana card, Marble said.

“These people have done nothing wrong in their lives,” Marble said. And yet their rights are limited, often because they opt for medical marijuana over other prescription medications, like opioids, which are highly addictive.

Those who use prescription drugs or alcohol don’t forfeit their right to carry a concealed weapon, Marble said. The same rights should be afforded to those who use medical marijuana, she said.

Only one witness testified against the bill, Eileen McCarron, of Colorado Ceasefire.

The effects of marijuana include euphoria, anxiety, fear, distrust, panic, hallucinations and delusions, McCarron said.

“Putting lethal weapons into the hands of individuals experiencing these emotions is an unwise choice,” she said.

More than half a dozen others spoke in favor of Marble’s bill. Those witnesses included an unlikely ally in Michael Neil of the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, who said on any other day he would oppose concealed carry laws.

“But so long as we have it, it seems patently unfair that it excludes members of a community that are trying to gain access” to safer medicines, he said.

Others noted that many, particularly veterans, move to Colorado to get access medical marijuana. This is often the case when traditional medicines don’t work, are too expensive or have adverse effects on the users, they said.

Those witnesses lamented that they have fewer gun rights than others, just because of the medicine they take.

Marble said the current system effectively cheats those patients out of their rights. With her bill dead, she said the only option is to try again next year. @conrad_swanson

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