This letter first appeared in the Greeley Tribune.

On July 16, 2015, a gunman attacked a military recruitment center and later a US Navy Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, killing four marines and a sailor and wounding two others.

In the 2016 legislative session state representative Perry Buck and I carried a bill in the House to create an exception for Colorado’s concealed carry law so that military personnel who are 18 to 21 years old can carry concealed weapons to protect themselves.

Because of Democratic opposition the bill did not pass but I had the opportunity to work closely with Perry. I observed Perry’s concern for our men and women in uniform. I also saw Perry develop a solution for a serious problem. Perry worked hard to build a coalition to support our bill. Finally, I witnessed firsthand Perry’s deep respect for our second amendment rights.

Perry understood that our military personnel are put in harm’s way when they are young, they are trained and trusted to use deadly weapons, they are taught the awesome responsibility that goes with their position, and she saw the tremendous sacrifice that these heroes make for our country. Our commonsense legislation recognized these important considerations.

Underlying this bill is Perry’s deep respect for an individual’s right to protect himself or herself, using deadly force if necessary.

I am proud to have worked with Perry to try and protect our military by attempting to expand Colorado’s second amendment rights for our service members. I look forward to her continued leadership to defend gun rights.

Jerry Sonnenberg, Colorado State Senator