Gun Law in Colorado

by Steve Lipsher / The Denver Post

August 6, 2013 (still valid today)

Today's musket ~ NRA style

(Today’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 ( of Silverthorne writes a monthly column for The Denver Post.


10 thoughts on “Gun Law in Colorado

  1. You’re just pissed because actions have consequences. If they got far enough to legally justify a recall election then that says it ain’t just a few malcontents who weren’t happy. Real Democracy in action. Liberal and Democrats hate it unless they can rig the ballot box.


  2. I think we know who Colorado supports on this… isn’t that obvious by now? Do we need to get more politicians removed that won’t listen to the people? You are now clearly in the minority on this, deal with it. 🙂

    • “I think we know who Colorado supports on this…”

      The vote against Morse according to Fox News this morning was 51/49% which is not a huge majority. The other one at 56/44 % was quite substantial though. The sad thing for me is how “blue” Colorado has become.

      I used to live in Colorado for a number of years back in the 1970s and have hiked, camped, and fished there for decades, although haven’t been back for a few years. A lot of people moved to Colorado over those years and I guess a lot more of them were liberals than conservatives.


        • The most interesting race, and the one I think will speak the loudest to other legislators, is the defeat of Angela Giron who was in a heavy Democratic district. So I would expect other Democrats to look at that and say to themselves that gun control legislation is a losing proposition in many places no matter how apparently safe you are. For her to lose by that wide a margin a lot of Democrats had to vote against her.

          The real tragedy, in my view, is that reasonable Americans can’t actually get reasonable restrictions on firearms ownership because many know that if they give an inch the other side will use that as a weakness to take away their 2nd Amendment rights. It is exactly the people calling for draconian control that by their desire to remove guns that make truly reasonable measures difficult or impossible.

          For example, it is not unreasonable to believe that anyone buying a firearm should have some minimal screening for not being a criminal or crazy, even in private transactions. That is why I wrote this piece on my blog:

          Universal Background Checks

          Please read it before jumping on my case! 🙂 I may have been in the 2nd Amendment fight longer than a lot of others have been alive. 🙂

          And just to be clear, I pretty much oppose any more “gun control” unless it is the kind I propose (as in the article above) and I make that stand even if a school yard of children are murdered every year. I take no moral responsibility for that last. That is squarely the moral responsibility of the people who prevent responsible citizens from defending children in schools with guns.


  3. And that’s our lesson for today, folks. Thank you very much, LWK & Opinionated Man, for dropping by & shooting straightly…

    “A Nation of Cowards,” an essay by Jeffrey Snyder, is a classic read on the meaning of “keeping and bearing arms.” The essay refutes the idea that there is something moral about disarming one’s self and expecting others to defend you. So says LWK.

    I read the essay months ago, via LWK’s blog ~ Free 2 Be In America ~ and found it compelling. I recommend a reading of this essay by those who might be miffed by the results of this recall election in Colorado.

    The eagle flies best when both wings ~ the left and the right ~ are aflutter!

  4. When people let go of their fears guns will not longer be needed. When a nation prepares for peace then wars will cease. When humans reach the conscious level of being they will realize the power of love has kept them alive until now.

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