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By Ken HamblinSpecial to the Denver Post Sunday, March 23, 2003 - Congratulations to Gov. Bill Owens for signing into law Senate Bill 24, which requires Colorado sheriffs to issue concealed-weapons permits to people who pass a fingerprint- based criminal background check and who have gone through a handgun-training course. And bravo to him, too, for signing SB 25, which prohibits local governments from legislating gun-control laws that are more restrictive than the state law allows and abolishes local registries of gun owners.Gov. Owens said SB 24 will provide a uniform standard for the issuance of a concealed-weapons permit and that SB 25 will, at long last, resolve the politically induced confusion concerning the sale and possession of firearms.Tom Mauser, who lost his son in the 1999 Columbine shootings, said the two bills will put more guns on the streets and, according to his view of the universe, will lead to more social insanity and increased violence and death. Mauser, I believe, harbors an unhealthy ax to grind with gun owners. (The parents of the adolescents who did the shooting, incidentally, have managed to avoid the wrath of Mr. Mauser and the Denver community in general.)According to Mauser, who was quoted in The Post: "I am shocked and dismayed at our state's leadership, for they have thrown aside the safety of citizens and local control in favor of the gun lobby by passing both Senate Bill 24 and Senate Bill 25."Is it Mauser's view that any law-abiding man or woman who is able to withstand the scrutiny of a Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check is potentially as dangerous a criminal as the spoiled suburban brats who brought sorrow and devastation into his life?While I disagree with Mauser, I am compelled to concede that the loss of his son, Daniel, entitles him to the anger, heartache and grief that he has been saddled with.Thus, I can pardon Tom Mauser for his obstinate and irrational opposition to our Second Amendment birthright.Heck, I can even forgive Mayor Wellington Webb, who, having grown up around his share of violent ghetto blacks, apparently believes that average law-abiding African-American citizens should not be trusted with free access to firearms.According to Mayor Webb: "I am disappointed the governor ignored police chiefs and others who understand that what works in rural Colorado doesn't cut it in urban centers."That sure sounds like he thinks blacks can't be trusted with guns.If I have a gripe with anyone, it is with the officers of the Denver Police Department, who I believe have allowed themselves to be used as shills for their police chiefs who, in turn, owe their positions to urban politicians (unlike county sheriffs, who are elected by their constituents).I believe those officers who donned their uniforms and allowed themselves to be exploited in TV interviews by saying that people who legally carry guns put them at greater risk, betrayed their positions of trust and were compromised by politicians unable to admit that their brand of gun control has failed.Mayor Webb is threatening to squander taxpayer dollars by taking the governor to court over Denver's loss of its right to establish its own special set of Draconian anti-gun laws. If Denver loses in court, Webb, Mauser and the rest of the anti-SB 24 and 25 gang are threatening to push the matter to a vote.How much of that is false bravado and sour grapes is difficult to say. However, what is important - at least for now - is the level-headed thinking of Gov. Owens, who had the courage to take the concealed-weapons bull by the horns and wrestle it to the ground.A tip of the fedora, governor, for a job well done. Mike RossThe Cartridge GuysLife Member, North American Hunting ClubMember, National Rifle AssociationMember, Meeker Co. Historical Society
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