15 April 2009

Gun Purchases May Get Easier in Colorado

As Colorado and the nation mark the 10-year anniversary of Columbine, state senators passed a bill yesterday to make buying guns easier at state gun shows. The bill goes to the House today.

At issue is the contentious matter of conceal and carry permits. Proponents of handgun rights argue that background checks are unnecessary for concealed-carry permit holders, whom the state government checks out before a permit is issued. Those permits are valid in CO for five years. Opponents of the measure argue that a lot can happen in five years. People get angry. People get sick. People use bad judgment. How many legally permitted conceal-and-carry gun owners have used their weapons to commit some crime or act of harassment?

The Denver Post's Bill Johnson pointed out last month that 130 concealed-carry permits were revoked in Colorado last year for "reasons such as 'arrest records,' 'discretion' and — goodness — 'restraining orders.'" Johnson, a gun owner, went on to criticize the proposed legislation.

Call me crazy, but I'm with Johnson. The chief complaint invoked against checks at gun shows is that background checks take too long. That seems, to me, a complaint that doesn't hold water. And as for redundant bureaucracy in government, I'm all for getting rid of it. But shouldn't we all be sort of comforted that buying a gun, of all things, might take longer than buying a Happy Meal?