Permission Not Required: Colorado Senate Passes Constitutional Carry Bill

DENVER, Colo. (March 8, 2018) – Today, the Colorado Senate passed a so-called  “Constitutional Carry” bill that would make it legal for most Coloradans to carry a concealed firearm without a license, and foster an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Sen. Tim Neville (R) introduced Senate Bill 97 (SB97) on Jan. 22. The legislation would allow any person 21 or over who can legally possess a handgun under state and federal law to carry a concealed handgun in Colorado without a permit. Individuals would be allowed to carry concealed without a permit any place license holders can currently carry.

Under SB97 Colorado residents would still be able to obtain a license so they can carry in states that have conceal carry reciprocity with Colorado.

The Senate Appropriations Committee narrowly passed SB97 by a 4-3 vote last month. Today, the full Senate passed it by a razor-thin margin as well. The final vote was 18-17.

While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway. The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing SB97 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

“Constitutional carry is a big step toward being able to exercise a natural right that has been infringed at all levels for far too long,” ShallNot.org campaign lead Scott Landreth said.

WHAT’S NEXT

SB97 now moves to House for further consideration.

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