GUEST COLUMN: Proposal would prohibit law-abiding citizens from carrying guns | Opinion

Concealed Carry

On Dec. 29, 2019, Jack Wilson, 71, had a bad feeling about a conspicuous looking man in a long coat who entered his church in Texas. As that man approached a communion server, pulled a shotgun out of his coat and began firing, Wilson was reaching for his firearm.

Aiming at the attacker, Wilson waited for the moment that he had a clear line of fire absent of bystanders. When that moment came, Wilson fired one round and eliminated the threat.

Two congregants were tragically killed in this senseless act of violence committed by the man in the coat. But thanks to Wilson’s heroism, it ended before the culprit could claim more lives. How long would this tragedy have continued if Wilson wasn’t armed and ready to act? How many more innocent people would have perished?

A previous event similar to this one suggests that the death toll could’ve been far greater. In fact, Wilson was only permitted to carry the firearm that he used to take down the shooter because Texas, in response to a 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting that left 26 dead, recently had changed its laws to allow licensed gun-owners to carry handguns inside houses of worship.

Texas did this to enable good people to defend innocent lives. Wilson showed us that it was the right decision.

This is one of many reasons why the Colorado proposal to prohibit law-abiding citizens like Wilson from carrying firearms in “sensitive spaces” is so dangerous. The draft bill names specific places where open and concealed carry of firearms will be banned.

All of the places where you might find yourself, aside from your home, are named. Firearms will be prohibited in churches, parks, rec centers, health care facilities, private businesses, public property, amusement parks, museums, and zoos, to name only a few.

In essence, you simply won’t be allowed to carry a gun if this passes.

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My family and I live in Denver, where violent crime is rampant. I just never know if we’ll be attacked by some lunatic while we’re out for groceries. And I prepare for that possibility the only sensible way: by carrying a firearm.

I carry my firearm in public for the same reason Jack Wilson did on Dec. 29, 2019. It’s the same reason every law-abiding gun-owner carries. We do it to defend ourselves and others.

Harming innocent people is, as it should be, against the law. The problem is that criminals break the law. The Sutherland Springs attacker broke the law when he brought a gun into the church he terrorized. It being illegal didn’t stop him. He walked right in and killed 26 innocent people with no regard for the letter of the law.

If anti-gun politicians succeed in outlawing public carry, criminals will simply have one more law to break and good people will be stripped of their right to defend themselves and those around them. Sure, we could carry knives, stun guns, or pepper spray.

But we know what happens to the guy who brings a knife to a gunfight. I refuse to be that guy. Like Wilson and so many other gun owners, I have not only myself, but other people whom I care about deeply to protect.

That’s why the Colorado State Shooting Association (the NRA’s state association) is prepared to go to battle against this awful proposal, exhausting every last resource until we see it defeated in either the halls of the capital or the chambers of the courthouse.

Ray Elliott is the Vice President of the Colorado State Shooting Association (the state association of the NRA). Read the draft of the “Sensitive Spaces” bill at

Ray Elliott is the Vice President of the Colorado State Shooting Association (the state association of the NRA). Read the draft of the “Sensitive Spaces” bill at

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