Oppose concealed weapons bill | AspenTimes.com

Oppose concealed weapons bill

The National Rifle Association (NRA), on behalf of gun manufacturers, is promoting the passage of carrying concealed weapons (CCW) laws across the nation. Now in Colorado, if House Bill 1410 passes, colleges and universities would be required to allow concealed weapons on campus – in dorms, classrooms, athletic facilities, dining halls, libraries, everywhere.

Also, the NRA would like to eliminate background checks on anyone with a CCW permit. This later provision is an attempt, by an end run through your legislature, against the will of Coloradans who voted overwhelmingly in the 2000 elections to require background checks on all sales at Colorado gun shows, not just those made by licensed gun dealers.

Following is an excerpt from an article by Diane Carman, Denver Post columnist, on Sunday, March 31.

“To hear the supporters of HB 1410 talk, you’d think this was a harmless bit of legislative housekeeping. It’s described as a bill merely intended to simplify concealed-weapons laws around the state so that they’re uniform and easy to understand.

“Colorado State University chief of police Donn Hopkins knows better. ‘This bill takes away all local control,’ Hopkins said. ‘A majority of the municipalities in this state didn’t care for the concept of increasing the prevalence of weapons in their communities. This bill overrides them.’

“Hopkins said HB 1410 would be a disaster for Colorado universities. ‘Most parents don’t want weapons on campus,’ he said. ‘I’ve heard that expressed numerous times. Parents don’t want that environment for their kids.’

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“Bob Nero, spokesman for the University of Colorado, said the regents’ long-standing policy on firearms has been clear and unequivocal: ‘Bring one on campus and you get expelled.’ But under HB 1410, that would end July 1.

“Sen. Ron Tupa, whose district includes the CU-Boulder campus, said that he thought the citizens of Colorado ‘had spoken emphatically after Columbine that they don’t want more guns out on the streets. So my question is, who is clamoring for more guns?’

“The answer is the gun industry.

“On Thursday the National Rifle Association sent an “urgent alert” to Colorado members to increase pressure on the legislature to pass this bill. You can help pave the way for HB 1410 by contacting your senator and telling him or her to support this bill. Contact your senator now at 303-866-2316. So here’s an urgent alert for those who may oppose HB 1410, especially if it means sending your kids out of state to college just to keep them out of the line of fire.”

Please oppose Colorado HB 1410 and consider sending a contribution to the Brady Campaign at 1225 Eye Street, N.W., Suite 1100, Washington D.C. 20005; or go to their Web site at http://www.bradycampaing.org for more information.

To quote Ralph Lopez, 34-year veteran of the San Antonio police force and nearly three terms as sheriff of Bexar County, Texas: “I can say without hesitation that there are few greater threats to public safety than the law requiring me to give a concealed weapon permit to just about anyone who walks through the door and asks for one.”

According to records kept by the Texas Department of Public Safety, CCW permit holders were arrested for a total of 3,370 crimes between Jan. 1, 1996 and April 30, 2000. And, between 1996 and 1999 they were arrested for weapon-related offenses at a rate of 66 percent higher than that of the general population of Texas.

President “select” Bush has been strongly supported by the NRA. As Molly Ivins has said in her book “Shrub,” if elected, Mr. Bush promises to do for the nation what he has done for Texas.

Sven Erik Alstrom, AIA

Aspen