DENVER – Two Republican-backed bills in the Colorado Legislature aim to expand concealed-carry handgun rights at schools across the state.
One bill, House Bill 1036, would completely strip from state statute that currently forbids people from carrying concealed handguns on public school grounds – even if the holder has a permit.
It strikes most of the language in Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-214, but upholds language in 18-12-105.5 that says it “shall not be an offense” if a person with a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun brings it on campus.
The bill also has language that says the enactment of the bill “is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.”
The bill in sponsored by Rep. Patrick Neville, Rep. Kim Ransom and Sen. Tim Neville – all Republicans.
The other bill filed relating to concealed-carry weapons in schools is also sponsored by Rep. Patrick Neville, along with Sen. Chris Holbert.
Senate Bill 5 also allows some school employees to carry concealed handguns on campus, but carries more stringent requirements than HB 1036.
If passed and signed by the governor, the bill would allow school districts to work with county sheriffs to establish a training course and curriculum that would be taught to teachers with concealed-carry permits who would then be able to carry the weapons on campus, with some restrictions and parameters.
The bill would also apply not only to public schools, but also to charter schools and institute charter schools.
The first step in the process the bill creates would require the district board of education or charter board to work with the sheriff’s office to establish a handgun safety training course that includes any of the district’s or charter school’s existing emergency response methods. The teacher would already have to have a concealed-carry handgun permit.
Then, that person would have to meet a series of thresholds in order to be able to carry the gun while it is concealed while they are on campus.
The board of education or charter institute would first have to approve the curriculum for the training; the employee would have to complete the training; the employee would have to get permission from the board or charter institute to carry the concealed handgun on campus and would then have to notify said board or charter institute.
Also, the bill would allow each school board or charter institute to establish a maximum number of employees allowed to carry concealed handguns on campus and allow them to deny permission to an employee if that would put the school over the limit.
Concealed-carry handguns are allowed on many of Colorado’s college campuses.
Last month, the Hanover School District, southeast of Colorado Springs, voted to allow “qualified teachers’ to carry guns while on campus. District board members who supported the measure cited mass shootings and illegal marijuana grows nearby as reasons for enacting the policy. The district also cited its few school resource officers as reasons for allowing the program.