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Constitutional carry bill clears State Senate - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Constitutional carry bill clears State Senate

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The Colorado Senate passed a bill Monday that would let gun owners carry their firearms concealed wherever, whenever, and without applying for a permit. The “Constitutional Carry” bill, as supporters call it, is one of multiple pieces of legislation introduced at the capitol this year aimed at lifting restrictions on gun owners.

Several opponents, who call the bill “Permit-less Carry,” showed up to lobby against the measure.

Senate Bill 16-017 was sponsored by Republican Tim Neville from Senate District 16 which covers parts of Denver, Jefferson, Boulder and Gilpin Counties. He thinks the Constitutional Carry makes sense.

 “In the State of Colorado, you can carry an open carry firearm, but if you put on a coat, just the process of putting that coat over that firearm, you could be guilty of a misdemeanor,” Neville said.

Amendments offered by Senate Democrats to let the bill go voters were defeated.

“We were trying to make a bad bill at least acceptable,” said Michael Merrifield from Senate District 11 in Colorado Springs. “Obviously, the majority declined to even accept any of our amendments.”

A large group of gun control advocates form the groups Moms Demanding Action for Gun Sense in America and the Everytown Survivor Network came to the Capitol to urge lawmakers to say no to the gun bills.

The additional measures include a bill to allow teachers to arm themselves. It is sponsored by Castle Rock Representative Patrick Neville who was a student at Columbine High School during the mass shooting.

Another bill seeks to expand the Stand Your Ground Law so that it includes business owners, and a third bill seeks the elimination of the ban on high capacity magazines passed in 2013.

 “These (bills) are removing protocols, systems that are in place, that people go through before they gain a permit to then go and carry a gun concealed, so if you remove those protocols, what safety measures do you have,” said Erin DaCosta of the Moms Demanding Action.

The high-capacity magazine limit was strongly favored by the Everytown Survivor Network. Member Jane Dougherty thinks the magazine limit makes sense.

 “They seem to think anybody should be able to walks around with a 30 round magazine or 100 round drum; these are weapons of soldiers and war,” Dougherty said. “These aren’t things that should be in homes.”

Dougherty’s sister Mary Sherlach was the school counselor at Sandy Hook.

“The young man that murdered my sister had easy access to multiple 30 round magazines.”

Senator Neville doesn’t think the bills are controversial. He thinks opponents need to consider the growing number of gun owners in Colorado and the public’s changing attitude about firearms.

“People are starting to take a look and they’re starting to realize that having a firearm is something that actually stops people from committing crimes and it actually it’s a protection device,” he said. “I think people are changing their attitude about that.”

The Constitutional Carry bill passed the floor vote in the State Senate on a party line vote. Given the partisan split between the State House and State Senate, it seems unlikely that the bill will make its way to the governor’s desk.

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