July 21, 2019

HB 17-1036: Permitting the Carrying of Concealed Handguns on Public School Grounds

On January 11, 2017, Reps. Patrick Neville & Kim Ransom and Sen. Tim Neville introduced HB 17-1036, “Concerning Permitting the Carrying of Concealed Handguns on Public School Grounds.”

With certain exceptions, current law limits the authority of a person who holds a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun by prohibiting permit holders from carrying a concealed handgun on public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school grounds. The bill removes this limitation.

The bill was introduced in the House and assigned to the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.

Governor Hickenlooper Signs Three Firearms Bills

At a press conference on Wednesday, March 20, 2013, Governor Hickenlooper solemnly signed three bills designed to help control gun violence in Colorado. The bills prohibit large-capacity ammunition magazines, require criminal background checks for all transfers of firearms (including private transfers), and allow the CBI to recoup the cost of the background checks. The bills are:

  • HB 13-1224 – Concerning Prohibiting Large-Capacity Ammunition Magazines, by Rep. Rhonda Fields and Sen. Mary Hodge. Effective July 1, 2013, the bill prohibits manufacture or purchase of any magazine capable of accepting more than 15 rounds of ammunition. 
  • HB 13-1228 – Concerning Requiring the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to Recoup the Cost of Performing an Instant Background Check Prior to the Transfer of a Firearm, and, in Connection Therewith, Making and Reducing an Appropriation, by Rep. Lois Court and Sen. Rollie Heath. The bill allows the CBI to assess a charge for performing instant background checks.
  • HB 13-1229 – Concerning Criminal Background Checks Performed Pursuant to the Transfer of a Firearm, and in Connection Therewith, Making an Appropriation, by Reps. Rhonda Fields and Beth McCann and Sen. Morgan Carroll. The bill mandates criminal background checks for all transfers of firearms, including those between private parties.

Governor Hickenlooper issued a statement about the most controversial of the bills, HB 13-1224, noting that he acknowledges the concerns about the bill and stating

In considering the language of HB13-1224, we have consulted with the Office of the Attorney General and we concur with its advice that the large-capacity magazine ban should be construed narrowly to ensure compliance with the requirements of the Second Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. We have signed HB13-1224 into law based on the understanding that it will be interpreted and applied narrowly and consistently with these important constitutional provisions.

For a complete list of Governor Hickenlooper’s 2013 legislative decisions, click here.

SB 13-195: Requiring Applicants for Concealed Handgun Permits to Complete Training Course at Location Where Certified Instructor Offers the Course

On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, Sen. Lois Tochtrop introduced SB 13-195 – Concerning Requiring Certain Applicants for Concealed Handgun Permits to Complete a Handgun Training Class on the Physical Grounds Where the Certified Instructor of the Course Offers the Course. This summary is published here courtesy of the Colorado Bar Association’s e-Legislative Report.

Under current law, an applicant for a concealed handgun permit is required to demonstrate competence with a handgun. An applicant may demonstrate such competence through various means, including the submission of a training certificate showing that the applicant has completed a handgun training class.

The bill provides that, for the purpose of the concealed handgun application process, a “handgun training class” does not include any firearms safety course that allows a person to complete the entire course:

  • Via the internet or an electronic device; or
  • In any location other than the physical location where the certified instructor offers the course.

The bill passed out of the Senate on March 11; it is assigned to the Judiciary Committee in the House.

Tenth Circuit: Colorado Sheriff’s Denial of Concealed Handgun License to Washington Resident Affirmed

The Tenth Circuit published its opinion in Peterson v. Martinez on Friday, February 22, 2013.

Gray Peterson, a resident of Washington, applied for a concealed handgun license (“CHL”) from the ex officio sheriff of Denver, Colorado. Pursuant to state law, Colorado sheriffs may issue CHLs only to state residents. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-203(1)(a). Peterson’s application was accordingly denied, prompting Peterson to file suit against the Denver sheriff and Colorado’s executive director of the Department of Public Safety. Peterson claimed that Colorado’s policy with respect to non-resident CHL applicants violated the Second Amendment and the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV of the United States Constitution.

The district court concluded that the executive director of the Department of Public Safety was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity because he had no connection to the enforcement of the challenged statute. The Tenth Circuit agreed with that conclusion. Colorado  law requires “each sheriff to implement and administer” the CHL licensing scheme. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-201(3). Because sheriffs are responsible for administering the state’s CHL regime—not the executive director of the Department of Public Safety—Peterson’s claims against the latter do not fall within the Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123 (1908), exception to Eleventh Amendment immunity.

With respect to Peterson’s claims against the Denver sheriff, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the carrying of concealed firearms is not protected by the Second Amendment after applying intermediate scrutiny. The majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. In light of our nation’s extensive practice of restricting citizens’ freedom to carry firearms in a concealed manner, the Tenth Circuit held that this prohibition did not fall within the scope of the Second Amendment’s protections. In other words, the Second Amendment does not provide the right to carry a concealed firearm. Additionally, it is virtually impossible to evaluate a non-resident CHL applicant’s background thoroughly enough to determine that the applicant, if granted a CHL, will not be a danger to himself or the community.

The Tenth Circuit reached the same conclusion with respect to Peterson’s claim that the residency requirement violated his right to travel and violated his rights under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution. As the Supreme Court explained in Supreme Court of Virginia v. Friedman, 487 U.S. 59 (1988), “it is only with respect to those ‘privileges’ and ‘immunities’ bearing on the vitality of the Nation as a single entity that a State must accord residents and nonresidents equal treatment.” Id. at 64-65 . Because the concealed carrying of firearms has been prohibited for much of our history, the Tenth Circuit concluded that this activity failed the Friedman test. In sum, the Tenth Circuit held that carrying a concealed weapon is not a privilege or immunity protected under Article IV.