03/02/2011 02:31 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado Concealed Weapons Bill Clears House, Heads To Senate

A bill that would allow Coloradans to carry concealed weapons without a permit was approved by the State House on a 40-25 vote on Wednesday.

House Bill 1205 (embedded below) would make it legal for anyone who passes the state's instant criminal background check--currently required for the purchase of any handgun--to conceal a weapon without a permit.

Supporters say the law addresses absurdities in Colorado's statutes that force gun-owners to apply (and pay $152.50) for a permit if they plan to carry firearms underneath a jacket, but not if they are carrying openly.

They stress that nobody who wasn't previously eligible to buy and carry a firearm will be allowed to if the bill becomes law.

HB 1205 would also make it legal for law-abiding gun-owners to carry concealed weapons in most parts of the state, except for K-12 schools and certain designated areas.

Opponents of the bill--including many law-enforcement groups--have countered that there should be a distinction between concealed and open-carry laws.

"We will not be promoting public safety if our police chiefs who are very strongly opposed to this bill do not have any way of knowing who is armed and who is not... we will all be less safe because of [the bill].... This is a very very dangerous bill," Claire Levy, a vocal opponent of the HB 1205, said on the House floor.

The bill now moves to the Democrat-controlled Senate, where it will likely face stronger opposition than it did in the Republican House.