Colorado Gun Law

by Steve Lipsher / The Denver Post

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Next month’s recall elections of Colorado Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron — both Democrats — stand as a twisted version of “democracy at the barrel of a gun.”

Proponents of the recall petitions are angry that Morse and Giron supported measures in the past legislative session that — heaven forbid — require every gun purchase to go through a background check and limit the number of bullets that pre-loaded magazines can hold.

Most of the sane world sees those as common-sense steps intended to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and lunatics and prevent them from creating the kind of unspeakable carnage that we’ve already seen in Colorado at Columbine High School and the Century Aurora theater.

Polls consistently indicate that more than 80 percent of the population supports universal background checks and at least 60 percent supports the limit on ammunition magazines.

But backers of the recall insist that Morse and Giron “ignored” their constituents — namely, themselves — and they want their heads on pikes as a warning to others who would dare infringe on what they perceive to be their sacred, inviolable Second Amendment rights.

Recall proponents singled out Morse because he is the high-profile leader of the Senate and considered vulnerable, having won re-election in 2010 by a scant 340 votes in an electorally split Colorado Springs district.

Giron, who wasn’t even a particularly outspoken supporter of the gun bills, is being recalled because … well, apparently because the gun-activist front organization Basic Freedom Defense Fund could pay for enough petition signatures to meet the lower total-vote threshold in her district and get her hauled back to the ballot.

Meanwhile, they failed to gain enough support to recall two other Democrats, Sen. Mike McLachlan, D-Durango, and Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster. (Never mind that dozens of other legislators also voted in favor of the bills, and Gov. John Hickenlooper signed them into law.)

That lawmakers would face recalls over this single issue — reasonable checks on who has access to guns — would be considered ridiculous in any other society.

But in a bloodthirsty country where the National Rifle Association keeps members of Congress completely petrified and incapable of passing even the most tepid gun restrictions despite our embarrassing off-the-chart murder rate, this effort stands as reasonable political discourse.

Similar unfounded credibility is given to the effort by a few dozen malcontents and cranks in northeastern Colorado who want to break away and form a new state, also in a pique over those “goldarned lawmakers in Denver takin’ away our Second Amendment rights,” among other things.

Of course, few of those who believe that the new gun laws trample on the Bill of Rights actually are part of any “well-regulated militia” spelled out — but routinely ignored by gun proponents — in the actual text of the Second Amendment.

No one is taking their guns. No one is creating a gun registry long rumored by fear-mongers. No one is even telling them they can’t accumulate more firepower than several small countries or doomsday religious sects.

The state is telling them, however, that if they’re on a murderous rampage, they’re going to have to reload after 15 shots, not 100.

That doesn’t sound unreasonable.

Backed by the NRA and the equally absolutist Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the recall is intended only to intimidate lawmakers and hold them at the barrel’s end of their virtual guns.

It was without a hint of irony that original recall proponent Tim Knight of Durango told The Gazette in Colorado Springs about his motivation in the effort: “Democracy is being held hostage.”

Here’s hoping that the recalls both fail, serving as a punch to the bullies’ noses and giving notice that lawmakers may stand up to the gun nuts with the backing of the vast majority of us who are sick of innocent people dying in Littleton and Tucson and Sandy Hook and Aurora.

Steve Lipsher (slipsher@comcast.net) of Silverthorne writes a monthly column for The Denver Post.

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7 thoughts on “Colorado Gun Law

  1. “But backers of the recall insist that Morse and Giron “ignored” their constituents … and they want their heads on pikes as a warning to others who would dare infringe on what they perceive to be their sacred, inviolable Second Amendment rights.”

    And what exactly is wrong with that? After the recall results we will have a better picture of their claims. If they are in fact correct then these two politicians will be out of a job. If the politicians actually do represent the majority of voters then they will win.

    I think that is good. Politicians should know there are consequences of their actions and they should know they were elected to represent the majority, not implement their personal views.

    “Of course, few of those who believe that the new gun laws trample on the Bill of Rights actually are part of any “well-regulated militia” spelled out — but routinely ignored by gun proponents — in the actual text of the Second Amendment.”

    The “militia” part of the grammar of the 2nd Amendment is purely explanatory as to intent of the Founders and not a limitation or condition on the “right the keep and bear arms.” The Supreme Court in District of Columbia vs. Heller clarified that. One does not have to be in a “militia,” nor does a militia even have to exist, for the 2nd Amendment to still guarantee a basic, individual, and inalienable right to self defense, with a gun.

    When is Magpul moving out of Colorado?

    Should be interesting to see how many out of state hunters spend money in Colorado this fall.

    lwk
    free2beinamerica2.wordpress.com

    • It seems to me, with the new gun and marijuana laws there, that Colorado is becoming a nice livable place. How can the law-makers be expected to sit on their laurels and do nothing, after that state’s mass shootings over the last few years? Seems to me, the recall is an attempt to take a step backwards ~ same as the Black folks wanting to repeal the Stand Your Ground laws ~ and the Republicans wanting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Why are so many folks in this country trying to go backwards? Why not buff-up & make shiny what we got going forward? Just a-wondering out loud…

      But, I agree, the results will be very interesting. They may clarify some where-fores. I should take a look at the District of Columbia vs Heller case and imprint the significance of it in my brain. And I would like to dig into the history where the making of the famous “militia” phrase occurred ~ because I’m very stuck on that phrase in this ongoing debate.

      Everybody believes in the right of self-defense. And most people, I think, believe in it with a gun. But, as with everything else, like, say, driver’s licenses, car registration and insurance, it seems certain limitations are most wise ~ in order to prevent too much mayhem by yahoos…

      One last thought has up n’ occurred ~ the out-of-state hunters might inspire a whole host of new laws in Colorado if they’re not careful about trampling through all those new marijuana patches…

  2. Pingback: The Well Regulated Militia | free2beinamerica

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