The Colorado Senate gave preliminary approval to a gun bill Monday that would do away with concealed carry permits in the state.
Republicans have a one-seat edge in the Senate, so when the recorded vote happens in the next few days, they should have enough lift to send Senate Bill 97 to the House.
The Democratic majority there will kill squash Neville’s legislation in its first committee, as Democrats do with all GOP bills that seek to loosen the state’s gun laws. They did so with three gun bills two weeks ago.
Republicans return the favor when the House sends them a gun-control measure.
“We’ve seen our share of tragedies strike Colorado,” Neville said. “As a father of a Columbine student that fateful day I’ve seen the heartbreaking damage that murdering criminals can inflict on innocent men, women and children – men, women and children left defenseless against these gutless cowards intent on only one out, to kill and injure as many innocent people as possible.”
He said the political left’s only answer to mass shootings is to restrict the rights of law-abiding citizens, “all under a false promise of creating greater public safety.”
The concealed carry bill wouldn’t allow people to take guns on school grounds, with narrow exception for gun classes there, he pointed out.
Neville on Monday schooled the Senate on how expensive and cumbersome it is to get the extra license, available only to people who already are legal gun owners.
The permit can take up to 90 days to secure, and it’s valid for five years. In Denver and Boulder, the permit costs $152.50. In Jefferson County it’s $100. On top of that, conceal-carry permits require a gun class that carries a separate cost.
He also said that current government policies have failed to protect people in these horrific mass shootings.
“Either you trust the government, or you trust the people,” Neville said. “... We saw what happens when government fails.”
Sen. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, provided passionate testimony on what she sees an invitation to more violence in society.
“Really?” she said about doing away with training. “We anyone who wants to have a gun and not be properly trained?”
Sen. Don Coram, R-Montrose, offered some broader perspective on the issue that has been talked to a stalemate death in the statehouse every year since a legislative Democratic majorities passed a package of gun-control bills in 2013.
“A gun, like any other source of power, it is a force for good or evil,” he said. “Being neither in itself, it depends on those who possess it.”
Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, tried in vain to add amendments that would require those carrying a weapon without a permit to instead carry a document – “they can fill it out themselves” – that says they are competent to handle a gun and have not committed any crime that would preclude them from carrying a gun. If they lie, they would be charged with perjury.
Neville led the Republican opposition that killed the proposal, calling it “another permission slip.” The bill only relates those eligible to legally carry a weapon, he said.
He called Kagan’s idea “a permit without the name permit.” Neville’s bill is aimed at doing away with the concealed carry permit.
Sen. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, said she didn’t see the injustice Neville is trying to cure.
“I’m not affronted that I have a registration for my car or my driver’s license with me,” she said. “It’s a simple identification.”