1997 Chlouber introduces Concealed Carry, but may compromise

Wednesday, January 15, 1997 -- State Senator Ken Chlouber (R-Leadville) introduced his bill to grant concealed carry permits, but already showed public signs he may compromise on key provisions.

The Bill

Senate Bill 96 leaves issuing authority with Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police and establishes reasons for denying the permits. A three year concealed handgun permit will be granted to U.S. citizens who are 21 years of age or older; have completed training (see below); have not been convicted of a felony; have not been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for felony-type offenses; have no restraining order in place; have no legal history of using drugs or habitually using alcohol (such as two driving under the influence revocations); is not taking medication for one of five major mental illness'; and several other circumstances.

The Good Provisions

First, this bill legalizes a long-assumed right of Coloradans; the practice of carrying in your own vehicle. Current law only allows this if you are "traveling," which the courts have ruled as an overnight stay. Chlouber's bill would make loaded and chambered handguns (chambered rifles and shotguns fall under hunting restrictions) in vehicles legal, a major step forward.

Next, the bill adds no restrictions for the carrying of concealed weapons. In years past, "Safezones" were added, making a permit holder navigate a labyrinth of legal hotspots.

SB96 also currently has no language to allow municipalities to nullify permits within its jurisdiction. The bill does not have a "compelling need" and standardizes applications throughout the state, avoiding forms that require an applicant to list his weapons and their serial numbers, made popular by Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan. The permit are not gun specific.

Finally, the training requirements are set low, including "...ANY NRA HANDGUN SAFETY OR TRAINING CLASS..." or any class "...CONDUCTED BY A STATE CERTIFIED OR NRA CERTIFIED FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR."

The Bad News

Senate President Tom Norton again assigned SB96 to the Judiciary Committee, where it will face a hostile crowd. Few expect the bill to emerge from the committee without major changes.

Even worse, Sen. Chlouber is showing signs that he is willing to compromise on the bill. Tuesday's Denver Post said Chlouber is "...willing to compromise to get it passed." It also quotes Sen. Chlouber as saying "I'm trying to get everybody's support, even the anti-gun people."

Tony Lombard of the Denver Police Department said they will demand applicants show a "compelling need" to carry a concealed handgun, and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dottie Wham (R-Denver) will likely follow their wishes. Stay tuned for more action.

New Web Site To better keep you informed, RMGO has a web site. It has up-to-the-minute information on Colorado legislative battles, including concealed carry, posted by RMGO's State Capitol lobbyist. Check us out at http://home.mho.net/RMGO. (RMGO is now at http://www.RMGO.org)

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