State

Jan 20, 2013 8:20 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Proposed law would require some Colorado businesses to allow guns or hire armed guards

Last week State Senator Kent Lambert (R - Colorado Springs) introduced a bill that would require some businesses to either allow customers with licenses to carry firearms or hire armed security guards as a way to prevent mass shootings and other crimes.

The bill would apply to private businesses that are open to the public and regularly have 50 or more people inside. Those businesses that don't allow licensed gun owners to carry their weapons inside and don't have armed security would be liable for any injuries or deaths caused by someone who could've been stopped by an armed customer or guard. Senator Lambert said he introduced to bill to eliminate "soft targets," which he described as areas where large groups of people gather but licensed gun owners are not allowed to carry their guns.

"If they have the motivation to go out and kill people, especially a large number of people, they are going to look for those places where they're not going to be confronted," Lambert told News 5.

The main focus of the bill is on shopping malls and movie theaters, Lambert believes that had gun owners been allowed to carry inside the theater in Aurora where the July 2012 mass shooting took place the tragedy might have been prevented.

"There's a responsibility for businesses to provide some security when they have asked people not to defend themselves," he explained.

News 5 reached out to several local business owners who expressed concern about the government intruding on their freedom to choose whether customers can carry guns. They also said the bill would put a heavy burden on small businesses if they had to hire armed security guards who likely would never be called on to stop a violent person.

Some shoppers in downtown Colorado Springs expressed support for the idea, but some also doubted whether the bill would be practical or if it was necessary at all.

"I don't think we're going to solve the problem (mass shootings) by putting a guard inside the stores," said shopper Marie McCaughan. "Just with those kinds of issues it doesn't fix the problem, the problem is a lot deeper than that."

Senator Lambert's bill is set to go before the Senate Judiciary Committee for review on Wednesday.

 

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