Colorado teachers will not be carrying concealed weapons at schools any time soon.
In Senate committee on Monday, Colorado Democrats rejected a Republican bill that would allow teachers to carry concealed weapons on school grounds. The Denver Post reports that Republicans made the argument that children would be safer in school if teachers could carry firearms and that another massacre like Sandy Hook could possibly be avoided, but state Democrats, who control the legislature, dismissed the notion and killed the bill. The bill falled on a 2-3 party line vote.
The vote on SB-9 came on the same day as more than 100 gun control supporters rallied in front of the state Capitol, including some politicians and Aurora shooting victims' family members like Dave Hoover, uncle of Aurora victim A.J. Boik, who called for tighter gun regulation. "I don't think it's difficult to ask that we have universal background checks, that we take these weapons of war off the streets," Hoover said at the rally, 9News reports.
Under current Colorado law, concealed weapons are prohibited at schools, but SB-9 would have changed that allowing school boards to give permission to teachers and other school employees to carry concealed weapons and require firearm training.
Despite the bill's failure, on Monday night, around 300 teachers and school employees attended a special class tailored just for them by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, Fox31 reports. “The only thing that’s going to stop a homicidal person that comes into a school or a building with the intent to kill people, is a good person with a gun,” Eric Jones, teacher of several of these kinds of RMGO classes, said to Fox31.
The newly heated debate about gun control illustrates the very different ideas that state Democrats and Republicans have on how to keep Colorado citizens safe. From concealed carry for teachers to another bill that state Republicans plan to introduce that would require armed security in businesses that don't allow concealed carry weapons -- which will likely face a similar fate to SB-9 -- clearly, for Republicans, more guns is the answer to better safety.
Colorado Democrats see a path to safety stemming from tighter regulation and stricter gun control laws. Congresswoman Diana DeGette and Aurora Rep. Rhonda Fields, both Democrats, have separate bills proposing tighter gun laws in the state. DeGette is sponsoring a bill that would ban the production of high-capacity magazines that are capable of holding more than ten bullets.
Fields, whose son was murdered by a gunman in 2005, intends to support that high-capacity magazine ban as well as introduce legislation that would require universal background checks for all gun sales, including private sale. In Colorado, only gun stores and gun shows are required to perform a background check on gun purchases.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlopper has come out strong in favor of stricter gun laws and has said "the time is right" for state lawmakers to consider gun control measures. "When you look at what happened in Aurora, a great deal of that damage was from the large magazine on the AR-15 (rifle)," Hickenlooper said to The Associated Press in an exclusive interview in December. "I think we need to have that discussion and say, 'Where is this appropriate?'"
Then during his State of the State address in January, Hickenlooper asked, "Why not have universal background checks for all gun sales?"
"After Columbine, Colorado voters insisted that gun show sales be regulated, and launched an aggressive effort to prevent school bullying," Hickenlooper said. "We have shown in Colorado that we can learn from tragedy and make changes. Surely, Second Amendment advocates and gun control supporters can find common ground in support of this proposition: Let’s examine our laws and make the changes needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people."