Plan would erase concealed-weapons permits database

The Rotten Apples and Sour Grapes in Ohio's media must shiver at the thought of having to post headlines like these in Ohio. That day will come.

February 19, 2004
Rocky Mountain News

A measure that would erase the Colorado Bureau of Investigation's database of concealed-weapons permits is headed to the Colorado House.

House Bill 1205 would change a law passed last year that created statewide standards for people who want to carry concealed weapons.

In this election year, when political leaders don't want lawmakers on the record on controversial issues, House Bill 1205 may be one of the only gun bills to be voted on in the House.

The House Information and Technology Committee approved the measure 7-3 Wednesday, with just one Democrat, Rep. Carl Miller, D-Leadville, splitting with his colleagues to vote with Republicans.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

Gun groups are split over the issue. The Firearms Coalition of Colorado, for example, didn't support the bill because the group made a compromise with police officials last year that CBI's database wouldn't be erased until 2007.

"A deal's a deal," said coalition member Steve Schreiner.

But Dudley Brown, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said they never agreed to that compromise.

"We don't ever cut deals on constitutional rights," he said.

Brown asked Rep. Bill Crane, R-Arvada, to sponsor the bill because he believes the database puts law-abiding gun owners on the same level as rapists and murders, which is "outrageous."

The law still would allow county sheriffs to keep a database of permits they have issued, and a law enforcement officer could call the sheriff's office that issued a permit to determine whether it is valid.

Law enforcement groups oppose the change because they want one database to help officers in the field who are trying to determine whether a person carrying a weapon has a lawful permit.

It's helpful in keeping officers safe, said Annmarie Jensen, a lobbyist for the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police. "That gives the officer information that might be usable in dealing with the individual," she said.

Before the law was passed last year, each police chief and sheriff in Colorado set his or her own rules for carrying concealed weapons. As a result, the number of permits varied widely from one community to another and record-keeping was hodgepodge.

The concealed-weapons law now requires county sheriffs to issue permits to any law-abiding citizen who is 21 or older, has no felony criminal background, isn't under any restraining order, and doesn't have a serious alcohol or drug problem.

The license applicant must undergo a fingerprint criminal-background check and pass a handgun- safety course.

License-holders are still barred from carrying a gun where banned by federal law, such as airports, public schools and public buildings with metal detectors, or in any private building where they are banned.

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