Constitutional carry passes first test in Colorado Senate

“The idea behind constitutional carry is that you should be able to carry a concealed handgun without applying for government permission or paying an expensive fee, if you are otherwise legally able to carry a firearm,” said bill sponsor state Sen. Tim Neville. (Photo: Colorado Senate Republicans)

“The idea behind constitutional carry is that you should be able to carry a concealed handgun without applying for government permission or paying an expensive fee, if you are otherwise legally able to carry a firearm,” said bill sponsor, state Sen. Tim Neville. (Photo: Colorado Senate Republicans)

A measure that would enable Coloradans to lawfully carry concealed handguns without a permit was approved by a state Senate committee this week.

The proposal, SB 97, passed on a partisan 3-2 vote of the Republican-controlled Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on Wednesday. Its sponsor, state Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, argues open carry without a permit is already legal in most of the state outside of Denver, and is concerned that those who choose to carry concealed have to pay the government what amounts to a tax to do so.

“The idea behind constitutional carry is that you should be able to carry a concealed handgun without applying for government permission or paying an expensive fee, if you are otherwise legally able to carry a firearm,” said Neville in a statement.

The bill codifies the right for those who can legally possess a handgun in the state to carry one without first obtaining a permit to exercise that right. Permits, which can cost over $100 plus are subject to extra fees from local agencies, are good for five years. Currently, the only exceptions allowed under the law to carry a concealed revolver or pistol without a permit are for those hunting, are on property under their control, or are inside a private automobile.

Neville backed a similar bill last year that earned initial approval in committee but eventually tanked. The latest effort heads to the Appropriations Committee for further review. However, the proposal may have little prospect of making it into law. Though Republicans control the state Senate, Democrats hold sway in the House and Gov. John Hickenlooper is a noted advocate for gun regulation.

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