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Concealed Weapon Bill on the Move in Colorado Legislature


State lawmakers have given initial approval to a bill that would allow Coloradoans to carry concealed handguns without a permit. The Republican-controlled state house gave the bill the nod Tuesday, despite loud opposition from state law enforcement officers and Democrats. 

In Colorado, a person who wants to carry a concealed handgun must go through two steps, including passing a criminal background check to buy one, followed by getting a permit from a county sheriff to carry one.

House bill 1205 would make this second step optional.

"This doesn't allow any criminal to get a concealed permit," said the bill's sponsor, Representative Christ Holbert (R-Parker).  "This is a minor change, and I ask you to trust law abiding citizens."

Current state law requires a higher threshold for people to carry a concealed handgun.

For instance, someone with a history of mental illness, drug and alcohol problems, or a restraining order against them is banned. And while the bill wouldn't change those restrictions, by no longer requiring a permit it would in essence place the right to carry concealed on the honor system.

Representative Daniel Kagan (D-Denver) worries the public won't understand the nuance and that the concealed carry laws won't be enforced.

"They will just, say, 'now the legislature has decided that anyone can carry a concealed weapon,' that's the way it will be read," Kagan said. " People who would not otherwise go out and carry a concealed weapon will now feel that they're legally entitled to do so."

The measure cleared the Republican controlled house on a voice vote. It still needs a final vote before it could move to the Democratic controlled senate – where it will likely fail.