(Feb. 21) – After six hours of testimony today, Democrats on the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee defeated the first of three Republican bills that would roll back gun safety protections in Colorado and make our schools and communities less safe.

HB18-1037, sponsored by Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, would have allowed teachers with nothing more than a concealed carry permit to carry firearms in Colorado schools.

“We don’t ask law enforcement to teach math, because that’s not what they’re trained to do,” Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora, told Rep. Neville. “So why are you asking teachers — who don’t get POST certified, who don’t get the weapons training — to be able to carry a gun in a place with vulnerable children?”

No law enforcement or education organization supported Rep. Neville’s bill.

Though “gun bill day” has become an annual marathon event at the state Capitol, this year’s testimony was remarkable for the large number of students who testified. “If guns are allowed at school, I will stay home,” 12-year-old Elina Asensio told the committee.

“I have heard these bills for five years now, and I keep coming back to the fundamental idea that it’s absurd to suppose that the way to reduce gun violence is to add more guns to the mix,” said Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, the chairman of the committee, after it voted 6-3 on party lines to reject HB18-1037.

Now being heard in the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee: HB18-1074 by Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, which would let a proprietor or employee shoot someone who enters a store on the mere suspicion that the visitor intends harm.

Still to come in what promises to be a long night in State Affairs: HB18-1015, a bill by Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Eaton, and Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, to repeal the magazine limit law passed in 2013 as part of the state’s gun safety package.

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