Amid Protest At The Capitol, Concealed Carry In Schools Defeated In Hearing
People on both sides of the gun debate gathered at the state capitol Monday for the hearing of the first of several gun bills of the session.
Update 01/29/2013 11:37 a.m.: Democratic state senators struck down the first gun bill of the legislative session Monday.
The debate over how best to prevent mass shootings got off to a heated start. Senate bill 9 was one of the first gun bills introduced, and the first defeated.
“Gun free zones have not been successful, tragedy after tragedy has shown us,” said Republican Scott Renfroe of Greeley. As the main sponsor of the bill, he made his case before the Senate judiciary committee.
“You don’t know who’s carrying. It could be one person, it could be 100 people, it could be no-one. You don’t know.”
Current state law says K through 12 schools must be gun free zones. Opponents say the measure would only make schools less safe. Democratic Senate President John Morse says his party will oppose any bills that put more guns on the streets and in the hands of citizens. He also worries more guns in schools would lead to accidents and teachers might not get the proper training.
“You know when your kindergartner shows up to school, be advised the teacher’s gonna have a gun hidden in a desk drawer or closet or some place,” said Morse. “And then when we’ve got 8,9, 10-year-olds, I mean really we want those folks in a room where we know there’s a gun somewhere?”
Morse says he’s still working on a comprehensive gun package that he hopes to introduce in a few weeks. He wouldn’t give specifics on what it could include.
Our original Monday post continues:
Senate Bill 9 [.pdf] would allow school employees to carry concealed guns. GOP proponents say teachers need to be able to defend themselves and protect children. Democrats oppose the measure and say it’ll lead to more violence.
Meanwhile gun control advocates held a rally at the capitol to call for stricter gun laws. They want lawmakers to pass a ban on assault weapons, high capacity magazines, and pass universal background checks for all gun purchases.
In his state of the state address, Governor John Hickenlooper said he’d support universal background checks.
Democrats still haven’t rolled out their own gun packages. They expect to do so in the next few weeks.