Say eliminating education component would be dangerous.
By ANTHONY A. MESTAS | firstname.lastname@example.org
A proposed bill that would allow law-abiding Colorado gun owners to carry a concealed firearm without a concealed carry permit would be dangerous and would shoot down important gun training, two local firearms instructors said Sunday.
Leonard Jimenez, president of the Pueblo Municipal Shooters, and Patrick Watts, a retired Arizona sheriff's deputy and firearms instructor, said education is the only safe way for people to understand concealed weapons laws.
Watts held a four-hour seminar on the subject at the shooter's club Sunday.
The state's current law prohibits carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a weapon on school, college or university grounds with certain exceptions.
HB1092, introduced by Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, on Jan. 17, would allow anyone who may legally possess a handgun and who carries a concealed handgun the same rights and is subject to the same limitations as a concealed handgun permit holder.
Jimenez said about 90 percent of the people who have firearms other than avid hunters and sportsmen know very little about how to handle them safely.
"There is more to shooting a gun than just pointing it and pulling the trigger," Jimenez said.
"I feel that if the Legislature allows everyone to carry a gun without any type of training, it could present a major problem."
Watts also said he was against the proposed bill.
"I was against a similar law that was passed in Arizona a few years ago. Training and education is a necessity," Watts said.
"People need to be educated and just having a gun doesn't necessarily solve problems, but it damn sure creates them if you don't have proper training."
Jimenez, also a firearms instructor, said most of the students he teaches own firearms and have decided to take a class to better prepare themselves should the occasion come that they need to defend themselves.
Jimenez said by removing the education step to allow people to carry firearms, more people may be apt to carry a gun in their car or in their pocket and feel that they are adequately prepared.
"But what would one do in a stressful situation should a need arise to protect themselves and their home or if they are somewhere out in public?" Jimenez asked.
Watts, who has lived in Pueblo for the past five years, said there are several professional and well-educated people who think they know a lot about guns and the law, but don't.
He said the average person who is concerned about crime and wants to carry a concealed weapon have a false mindset.
They think, I got a gun, don't screw with me. I'll show you who's boss, Watts said.
"They don't know what the law says about when you can and can't use a weapon in self-defense."
Watts said people have a very stilted view based on what other people say.
"They believe everything that is on the Internet," Watts said.
"I am the most pro-Second Amendment person you will ever talk to . . . But when it comes to carrying a weapon with the mindset you are going to use it for self-defense, you better make sure you know how to use it properly and by the law."