There appeared to be a viable political escape hatch for Colorado’s senators when it came time to vote on a bill that would have made it easier for people to carry concealed weapons from state to state. Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was shot at Columbine High School, asked both of the state’s Democratic senators to do what they could to defeat the bill (via The Associated Press). But Mark Udall and Michael Bennet (pictured) didn’t take the political cover. As their party overwhelming voted to quash the measure, Udall and Bennet were left standing out sorely alongside Republicans. The bill called for states to recognize concealed weapons permits issued in other states, something that many opponents, including Mayor John Hickenlooper, say would undermine local authority.
As his party’s leadership claimed victory, Bennet issued a statement explaining that criminal laws would still apply in Colorado to the holders of permits from other states, according to 9News. Udall, in a similar statement, said, “Our experience over the last six years does not lead me to conclude that passage of this amendment would raise the risk of unlawful gun smuggling or other criminal acts.” The final vote was 58 to 39, writes The Colorado Independent, which points out that just two Republicans joined the Democratic majority. A Congressional Quarterly blog adds that Democrats who sought to debate the bill might have done so for campaign reasons: Bennet is seeking election in 2010. Both Udall and Bennet recently supported measures to allow concealed weapons in national parks.