Colorado constitutional carry bill approved by Senate committee

The Colorado Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee approved a bill Thursday that would allow lawful gun owners to conceal and carry handguns without a permit.

Senate Bill 116, sponsored by Republicans Sen. Tim Neville and Rep. Kevin Van Winkle, was approved in the Republican-led committee along party lines with a 3-1 vote, ColoradoPolitics.com reports.

“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. Neville, who also called the bill “common-sense legislation.”

Opponents included local members of gun control group Moms Demand Action.

“As a wife and mother of two young children, I am deeply concerned about keeping my family safe from gun violence,” local member Annette Moore said in a statement. “Allowing individuals – including dangerous people – to carry hidden, loaded handguns in public without a permit or safety training would abandon the core public safety standards that protect us.”

Former law enforcement officer and Everytown Survivor Network member Dave Hoover, whose nephew was killed in the 2012 Aurora movie theater shooting, also voiced opposition to the bill.

“As a Republican, hunter, gun owner and law enforcement officer for more than 30 years, I cannot understand why our lawmakers would support allowing anyone to carry a firearm without any training,” Hoover said. “That is a recipe for disaster.”

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Representative Dan Murphy supported Sen. Neville’s position that permits are largely pointless and stand on shaky constitutional ground.

“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,” Murphy said.

Though the bill may pass in the Senate due to the slim Republican majority, it almost certainly will be shut down in the Democrat-led House of Representatives.