Sheriffs back delay |

Sheriffs back delay

Two of the three sheriffs in the Roaring Fork Valley applauded the Colorado Legislature’s decision Wednesday to put further consideration of major gun bills on hold.

Pitkin County Sheriff Bob Braudis, who has no party affiliation, said he opposed a bill that would have eased the process of issuing permits for concealed weapons, even though he doesn’t consider himself to be “fervently anti-gun.”

The result of the concealed weapons bill would have been to “pump even more guns into an over-gunned society,” said Braudis.

Garfield County Sheriff Tom Dalessandri, a Democrat, said the Legislature never should have spent the amount of time and money it did debating major gun bills this session. It sends kids the wrong message when the state’s lawmakers make easing gun control their top priority, he said.

Dalessandri said he agreed with the portion of the concealed weapons bill that would have established a uniform procedure for issuing permits across Colorado. But the Legislature’s criteria for issuing permits weren’t strict enough and amounted to “giving citizens the license to kill,” said Dalessandri.

Eagle County Sheriff A.J. Johnson, a Republican, said he wants to see the concealed weapons issue dealt with in a “non-political” way.

“It wasn’t a bad bill. I will say that,” said Johnson. “I did have a few concerns with it. [But] I’m not against concealed weapons.”

Johnson said the bill could have been refined in a way that would have avoided potential problems while still providing citizens with the option to carry a gun. For example, weapons should be banned from being carried anywhere where alcohol is sold.

“I don’t think most people want to pack a pistol around. I really don’t,” he said.

Dalessandri said he’s all for use of firearms for recreation, sport and hunting. But versions of the concealed weapons bill would have allowed guns to be carried in hospitals and other public places where they simply aren’t justified, he said.

“Our society is obsessed with this,” he said of gun possession. “Kill before getting killed. That’s the message.”

Dalessandri said he’s issued 25 permits for concealed weapons in four years.

Braudis said he receives six “serious inquiries” for permits on average per year. He’s issued two permits in 12 years.

Braudis hopes that the decision to put the gun bills on hold this session provides “another year to try to convince the Legislature to put it on the ballot.”

All citizens should decide the issue, not just legislators who are facing heavy lobbying by the National Rifle Association and others in the powerful gun lobby, he said.

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