DENVER Democratic senators shot down a Republican plan to allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit Tuesday.
Both sides cast House Bill 1205 as a public safety issue. Gun advocates said more law-abiding citizens should be able to carry concealed weapons, while domestic violence victims and police officers said the bill would end up letting dangerous or deranged people hide their guns.
The Senate State Affairs Committee voted 3-2 to kill the bill, two weeks after the House had passed it.
The sponsor, Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, said the bill would help rural people, including hunters who often carry a sidearm on their belts.
If they happen to throw on a coat over the top of it, theyre technically breaking the law, and I just dont think thats right, Brophy said.
Brophys bill would have allowed anyone who currently qualifies to get a concealed weapon permit to carry a hidden gun without a permit. People who dont qualify include those with restraining orders, mental illnesses, or histories of violence or substance abuse.
Opponents said county sheriffs deny hundreds of people each year who apply for a permit despite arrest records or mental illnesses.
Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle spoke against the bill and said he revoked a permit from a man with a brain injury who woke up in the night and began shooting at imaginary intruders. He also denied a permit to a blind man who wanted to carry a hidden gun to thwart harassment on the bus.
Under HB 1205, both people would have carried concealed weapons because they believed they met the legal criteria, Pelle said.
Supporters said the bill would help law-abiding citizens and have no effect on criminals.
Criminals who intend to shoot police officers will not bother getting a concealed weapon permit, said Dudley Brown, director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
Citizens can be trusted. They dont need these kinds of restrictions, Brown said.
Reach Joe Hanel at firstname.lastname@example.org.