Denver, CO— Legislation to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in the State of Colorado passed the state senate on Thursday in a party-line vote. Currently, Colorado allows residents to open carry without a permit, but advocates of SB18-097 believe legal gun owners should be allowed to conceal carry their firearm without having to pay licensing fees to the state or FBI.

“The idea behind constitutional carry is that you should be able to carry a concealed handgun without applying for government permission or paying an expensive fee, if you are otherwise legally able to carry a firearm,” bill co-sponsor Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, said in a statement last month.

Colorado law currently prohibits gun registration in the state, but relies on local Sheriff’s offices to issue concealed-carry permits. The Denver Sheriff’s Department, for example, requires people to complete an information packet and numerous other documents, and to provide deputies a handgun training certificate verifying the individual has firearm training. Additionally, the person applying must have a valid Colorado identification and pay a $152 fee for the permit in Denver.

Current Colorado law classifies to knowingly carry a concealed weapon without a permit as a class 2 misdemeanor. The proposed legislation would allow anyone age 21 and over, with a legal gun, to be able to conceal their gun in public without having taken a training class or obtaining a permit, but the permit process would remain intact as to allow conceal-carry in other states with Colorado reciprocity laws.

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Under the proposed law, conceal-carriers would be required to operate under the same rules as permit holders – which disallows individuals from carrying concealed firearms on public K-12 school grounds unless specifically permitted to do so.

Between January 2015 and December 2017, at least 627 cases involved a conviction for a person carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, according to a fiscal statement by the legislative counsel staff. The report states that 51,030 concealed carry permits were processed in 2017: 12,293 renewals and 38,737 new applications.

New concealed carry permits cost $39.50, with $10 going to the FBI and $29.50 going toward the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, while permit renewals cost $13, according to the fiscal impact statement and the state.

The bill now moves to the House, where a similar measure was immediately voted down in a Democrat-controlled House committee after it passed the Senate last year.

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