DENVER — Colorado Democrats defeated a bill Wednesday to remove restrictions on concealed-carry in K-12 public schools, a measure introduced by a Columbine survivor aimed at providing another line of defense against mass shootings.
Democrats, who control the state House, rejected the bill on a 6-3 party-line vote after six hours of testimony before the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee.
State Rep. Mike Foote, who chairs the committee, said correspondence from his constituents showed they were “overwhelming opposed to this bill, and for good reason.”
“I think that its premise, in my opinion, is a false premise, which is that more guns equals more safety. I just cannot accept that premise,” Mr. Foote said. “I don’t think I ever will accept that premise, particularly in our schools. More guns do not equal more safety in our schools.”
The bill was introduced by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a sophomore at Columbine High School during the 1999 massacre that saw 12 students and one teacher gunned down in what was then the worst high-school shooting in U.S. history.
The rampage last week at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, surpassed that total. Seventeen people died at the hands of a 19-year-old gunman, who survived and has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.
The Colorado bill would have allowed concealed-carry permit holders to bring their weapons onto school property, instead of being required to leave them in their locked vehicles.
“Unfortunately, current Colorado law creates a so-called gun free zone in every K-12 public school,” said the Republican Neville in a statement earlier this week. “This leaves our students vulnerable for crazed lunatics, who want to murder our children.”
He added that “I refuse to stand by silently when we can stop this horrific cycle and deter would-be predators. I want our kids protected in their classrooms.”
The late-night vote came as the committee considered three firearms measures introduced by Republicans as part of what has been dubbed “gun bill day.”
Mr. Neville has introduced the concealed-carry bill every year since he was elected in 2014, so far without success.
© Copyright (c) 2018 News World Communications, Inc.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.