DENVER – The Republican-controlled state Senate on Thursday hosted another debate about expanding Second Amendment rights.
Previous debates focused on magazine capacity and training of school employees to carry firearms.
Thursday’s discussion concerned Senate Bill 6, which would amend the concealed carry law to include a provision allowing active-duty and honorably discharged military personnel younger than 21 to apply for permits. The bill was adopted and scheduled for a final reading before moving to the House.
Bill sponsor Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, said the measure was inspired by his step-daughter who serves in the military.
“Half her unit was deployed in Afghanistan. They can go to Iraq or can go to Afghanistan and defend themselves, but they cannot come back here to the state of Colorado, because they are under the age of 21, to get a conceal carry permit,” Cooke said.
Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village, said he was concerned about increasing the number of guns on the streets and the impulse control of adults under 21, even if they were military personnel.
When deployed, these military personnel are allowed to carry guns, but they are closely supervised by superior officers, Kagan said. “There are very strict rules about when, where and how they carry those firearms and when, where and how they use them.”
Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said this is based upon the assumption that the young adults who had served in the military were the same as those who had not.
“These 18- to 20-year-olds are incredible young people who have been through a great deal of stress, a great deal of hardship, a great deal of loss,” she said. “They have seen things we will never see, and what really gets under my skin is that we seem to lump them in with everyone else. They are not everyone else.”
The bill represents the sixth piece of legislation focusing on gun laws this session.
Four of these bills have originated in the Republican-held Senate, were passed by committees to the full floor and are expected to go to the House, which the Democrats control.
The other two originated in the House, but both died in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, the so called “kill committee.”
This committee is the likely landing spot for Second Amendment bills passed by the Senate.