Friday, January 27, 2012

Coming Legislative Issues for 2012 – Constitutional Carry

By:  William P. Flinn

Colorado gun owners and concealed carry holders have already suffered their first partial defeat for 2012.  The bill introduced this year in the Colorado Senate (S.B.25), that would allow law abiding Colorado gun owners to carry a concealed firearm for self-defense without a concealed carry permit, was shot down by Colorado Senate Democrats.  In case the intent of this bill isn’t clear, let me be try to describe what this bill would have allowed: any Colorado citizen who is legally eligible to possess firearms can carry a concealed handgun for self-defense purposes while in their home state of Colorado.  Stated another way, anyone who is a Colorado citizen and can legally own a firearm can carry a concealed handgun without a permit as long as they are in Colorado.  And yet another way: any Colorado citizen, who has not been convicted of a disqualifying crime (felony or misdemeanor domestic violence), and has not been deemed mentally incompetent can carry a concealed handgun in the state of Colorado for self-defense purposes.  Have I described this bill adequately?  Good, because here is the reason why this bill was defeated:  The reason for defeating this bill, say those how killed it, was because they didn’t want to circumvent safeguards already in place that would prevent mentally defective people and criminals from carrying firearms.  Am I missing something here?  Did these people’s reasoning and intellect just go out the window?  There are ALREADY laws and safeguards in place that prevent ineligible persons from possessing firearms.  Giving law abiding citizens the ability to carry a concealed handgun without a permit does NOT defeat those laws.  Fortunately, there is a sister bill in the Colorado House (H.B. 1092) that as of the date of this writing has not yet been assigned to a committee, but is still alive.

Vicki Marble for Colorado State Senate, District 23
True pro-gun-rights conservative!

So before I get into all the reasons why this is the right type of legislation to pass, I first have to address the sheer nonsense of the above reasoning for defeating this type of bill.  Criminals are already disqualified from owning and carrying firearms.  It is even an additional felony for an already convicted felon to even touch a firearm.  So what would this bill have done to circumvent this?  What safeguards would be defeated? None, Nothing, Nada!  The criminals already carry concealed firearms.  They’re criminals!  They don’t care about obeying the law. Even without this type of law, does anyone honestly believe that a criminal will not possess and carry a concealed firearm if they cannot get a permit from the local Sheriff?  “Darn, I’m a convicted felon now, guess I better go turn in my guns…”   Yeah, right – like that’s ever gonna happen.  They possess illegal guns.  They possess stolen guns, in many cases.  And they have no regard for obeying our laws.  The criminals will keep and conceal their tools of the trade so that they can continue to commit crimes. The law abiding are the only ones who obey the laws.  What part of that do our legislators not get?

So who was protected by the defeat of this bill – law abiding citizens?  No.  The criminals were protected and enabled by the defeat of this bill.  Who was penalized by the defeat of this bill – the criminals?  No.  The law abiding citizens were penalized.  Same holds true for the mentally incompetent.  If they have been adjudicated mentally defective, they cannot possess firearms, period!  Then, all of the same logic as I have described for the criminals applies.  Every time I see insanity like this, I cannot help but wonder if our law makers embrace criminal behavior, and have complete disdain for people who play by the rules and live honest lives.  Or is it a strong desire to show an overprotectiveness to shield the minority of timid and the frightened citizens from the fact that us “Sheepdogs” are out there, and yes, we do carry guns?  It’s either that, or some of our law makers themselves have cognitive issues or learning disabilities that should be addressed.

So why is Constitutional Carry (as these types of laws are called) legislation good for us?  Well for one thing, let’s go back to the wording of the Second Amendment: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”  That seems to say enough, I would think.  So if it doesn’t, let’s look at some cold, hard reality, then.  Law abiding gun owners have proven time after time their exemplary ability to follow the law and be good citizens.  Crime rates within the ranks of concealed handgun permit carrying individuals has been proven to be among the lowest of any segment of society.  Constitutional Carry simply allows an already law abiding citizen to carry a concealed firearm within the state of residence without a special permission slip.  If they wish to carry outside the state, they will still need to obtain a Colorado permit, and the state to which they are traveling must honor that permit.  And of the states who have adopted Constitutional Carry (Alaska, Vermont, Arizona, Wyoming), we have yet to hear of any cases where the “streets ran red with blood” over wild-west style shoot-outs, or even of any public safety surfacing because of it.

We gun owners have proven ourselves as trustworthy, decent, and willing to help others.  So why is it that we should need a permission slip in order to enjoy a right that is not supposed to be infringed in the first place? 
As I mentioned, H.B. 1092 is still alive in the Colorado House.  This bill has yet to be assigned to a committee.  And there is still hope that this bill can be passed out of a committee, moved to the House floor for a vote, and eventually passed into law.  So what can you do to help?  My admonition is the same as it has been from the beginning of this election and legislative season: Get Involved!  Write to your state representation and strongly urge them to support this legislation.  If you live in the districts of State House Representatives Priola and Brophy (or even if you don’t live in their districts) call and thank them for introducing this bill.  As soon as this bill is assigned to a committee, start contacting those committee members and strongly urge them to support this bill.  Then, write to the State Senators who defeated this bill and ask, no, DEMAND them to provide their reasoning for killing the Senate version of this bill (S.B. 25).  And finally, join one or more of the gun rights activist groups with the clout and lobbying ability to fight for us at all legislative levels.  In Colorado, we are fortunate enough to have Rocky Mountain Gun Owners fighting for us.  Join the NRA and leverage their broad range of power in influencing legislative action.  It’s up to us, folks.  We can either keep the fire under their feet to remind them that We the People run the show, or settle for status-quo when the chips fall where they may.

At Northern Colorado Firearms Safety Training, our mission is to foster the proper knowledge, skills, and attitudes for owning and using firearms safely.  Our philosophy is that a firearm is only as safe (or as dangerous) as the person using the firearm, because firearms in and of themselves have no ability to spontaneously operate themselves.  We teach that a firearm is a tool to employ in a variety of appropriate circumstances:  sport shooting, hunting, or self-defense.  And above all, we teach firearms safety!