Apr 28, 2022 - News

A concealed-carry crackdown looms in Denver

Illustration of an arm in a business suit making a gun sign with smoke coming out of the fingertips.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock's plan to ban concealed guns in city parks and buildings in the name of public safety is moving forward, despite a lack of data linking crime to the permits.

State of play: Denver's police department doesn't track how many gun-related crimes are connected to concealed-carry permit holders — so there's no way to know if the linkage exists in the city.

But that's beside the point, assistant city attorney Reggie Newbine said.

  • The goal of the crackdown, he told council members Wednesday, is to further "mitigate risk" of violent crime, which continues to soar in Denver and across the country.
  • Expanding the boundaries of the city's concealed-carry ban outside of where it already exists, including courtrooms, post offices, the City and County Building and schools, will help do just that, Newbine said.

The big picture: Nationwide, there remains "limited" evidence showing that right-to-carry laws increase violent crime, according to a comprehensive report from the nonpartisan think tank Rand Corp. that examined thousands of gun policy studies published since 1995.

  • However, research shows that tighter restrictions result in lower percentages of handgun owners carrying their firearm regularly.

Driving the news: A Denver City Council committee on Wednesday advanced the proposal to the full council after pumping the brakes on the plan earlier this month for further discussion.

  • Some council members, including Jamie Torres and Kevin Flynn, remain on the fence.

What they're saying: "I'm just having trouble understanding why we are keeping the whole class in recess because of the misbehavior of some who don't have a permit," Flynn told officials in the city attorney's office.

  • "I still don't see data … that would tell us whether this is actually a problem that will be solved by this particular bill," he added.

What's next: The ordinance will be introduced on the floor of the full council early next month.

  • Restrictions would be effective immediately upon the mayor's signature.
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