I felt the question was not whether to be counted as “pro-gun” or “anti-gun,” but to look beyond labels and examine the real, and not theoretical, impacts of the proposed legislation – particularly on Colorado and our citizens.
Since states have different laws governing concealed firearms, The Denver Post suggested that the amendment I supported would wipe away Colorado’s law by forcing us to recognize other states’ laws. It was alleged that this legislation would open the door to illegal activity and create unsafe conditions for our citizens.
These are not trivial concerns, and I considered them carefully.
My final judgment was influenced by our experience in Colorado. We have a law, passed in 2003, that allows Colorado to recognize out-of-state permits from other states that recognize Colorado’s law and only requires permit holders to be at least 21 years old. That’s it. There are no additional restrictions. [emphasis added]
That’s not really the point the editorial was making, and it’s a bit of a strawman argument to suggest that it was.
If law-abiding residents of one of the 27 states that are part of Colorado’s reciprocity agreement travel here, they can use their permits legally, just as Coloradans with permits can travel freely with concealed weapons in theirs. That’s not the case in states such as New York, where it’s very difficult to even get a concealed-carry permit. Kopel argues that Thune was taking aim at those heavily restrictive states.
The argument, Kopel says, is those restrictive states are endangering the lives of law-abiding people who carry weapons for self-protection. But Thune didn’t address that disparity. Instead, the senator attempted to force states to accept a least-common-denominator set of regulations regarding concealed weapons.
Our senators need to rethink their support of these policies. [emphasis added]
As a federal legislator, Senator Udall’s votes affect every state, not just Colorado. While his priority should be to make sure Colorado gets a fair shake from Federal laws and regulations, he also needs to be cognizant of their effects on the other 49 states. It is because of Senators taking similarly parochial views on every piece of legislation that we haven’t seen progress on health care, global warming, and other issues of national importance that have potentially uncomfortable effects on different states and regions of the country while having a net positive effect on the whole.
Senator Udall’s position is that his vote was essentially a net neutral in its effects on Colorado because it already has reciprocity with most other states. That argument works in the other direction as well. The fact that the amendment failed means about as much or as little for Colorado as it would have had it passed.