Colorado law officers who pull over a speeding car can find out through a few quick keystrokes or one phone call whether the driver has insurance or an arrest warrant. What they can’t determine nearly as quickly is whether the driver is allowed to have the gun they find lying on the front seat or find later in the glove box, says the Denver Post. A database listing felons — who by law are not allowed to have guns — would give authorities a shortcut to that information. The proposal is bubbling up from some in law enforcement in Colorado, who say access to such a database could do more to catch bad guys with guns than the gun legislation up for debate at the state Capitol.
Law officers don’t routinely seek an entire criminal-background check during a traffic stop, but they can almost instantly find out whether the motorist is wanted on a warrant or is driving with a suspended license. Federal privacy rules regarding criminal-history reports can make it complicated for law officers to access the information while working the streets. Some Republican lawmakers said they are interested in the idea and might turn it into legislation, but Senate President John Morse, a Democrat and former Colorado Springs police officer, was not convinced it would “solve anything.” The state should improve its current criminal-history database instead of spending money creating a new one, Morse said.