Gun battle in the Colorado Legislature

The Democrat-controlled state legislature is poised to ram through a radical anti-Second Amendment agenda. Photo: Colorado Legislature, Epoch Times

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, February 10, 2013 — In defiance of both the Colorado and United States Constitutions, Democrats in the Colorado legislature outlined proposals to restrict the use and ownership of firearms. At the same time, they killed Republican-sponsored bills which could have enhanced the safety of citizens.

The Colorado proposals mirror those coming from Democrats in Washington: making firearms manufacturers, sellers, and owners liable for damages caused by certain high-powered weapons; restricting private sales; empowering mental health professionals to restrict gun ownership rights of clients who come to them for help; prohibiting concealed carry on college campuses; and banning magazines of more than ten bullets.

Both the first and last proposals will hit manufacturer Magpul, a Colorado company that produces 30-round magazines for AR-15 type rifles. The company has made it clear that if these proposals pass, the company will be forced to relocate, taking 700 jobs with them.

It is doubtful that lost jobs in the firearms industry will affect the Democrats’ thinking. Attacks on Colorado’s coal industry by liberal legislation have closed both mines and power plants and the entire town of Craig. An internet tax caused Amazon to stop doing business in Colorado.

More than just banning the sale, transfer or possession of “high capacity” magazines, the bill makes it illegal to sell or transfer them if they were legally owned prior to passage of the law.

Another bill would overturn a decisive state Supreme Court opinion which found that individuals who obtain concealed weapons permits cannot be denied their right to carry firearms for self-defense on college campuses. The issue was brought to the court by students seeking to nullify a Colorado University ruling that was itself at odds with existing state law.

Yet another bill would impose a fee for undergoing a background check through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) InstaCheck system. The check is currently in place and duplicates an FBI background check. Colorado is one of only a few states with its own background check system. The CBI program cannot process or handle the volume of checks seen in the last few months, yet the legislature denied a $500,000 request to expedite the backlog. Background checks are usually completed in about fifteen minutes.

Perhaps the most bizarre proposal is to criminalize the private transfer of firearms between family members, friends and co-workers. In Colorado, there has never been a so-called “gun show exemption”; firearms purchased at shows require the same background check as elsewhere. Under this proposed law, individuals would undergo a criminal investigation to be able to make a transfer.

Before proposing this radical agenda, Democrats killed bills that would have provided some real measure of security.

Senate Bill 9 would have allowed school districts to decide if their teachers and other employees could carry concealed weapons. It would not force any district to establish such a policy, but it would allow the district to decide if they want to provide that level of defense for the children in their schools. It was defeated on a party line vote.

Both Texas and Utah allow teachers to carry concealed weapons. The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners recently completed free concealed carry classes for over 200 educators. Had SB-9 passed, teachers, administrators or even janitorial staff could have performed school security roles.

A bill to extend the “Castle Doctrine” to places of business was also defeated. Colorado currently allows the use of deadly force against an intruder in the home; Democrats denied the right to business owners.

While the state legislature ignores the law in its attempt to restrict Second Amendment rights, resistance to enforcing these unconstitutional laws continues to grow.

The Colorado Sheriff’s association in January released a five-page paper to express their support for the Second Amendment. They wrote that they “will not waiver [sic] in the defense of the Constitution and will stand to preserve every constituent’s right to possess a firearm.”

On January 21st the El Paso Board of County Commissioners was the first BOCC to pass a resolution in support of their sheriff and the Second Amendment—but they were not the last. Weld and Montrose Counties passed similar resolutions and it is under consideration in at least three other Colorado counties.

Hearings will begin Tuesday and Wednesday at the state capitol in Denver. Governor Hickenlooper is up for re-election in 2014; his stand on these bills will be closely watched.

If these unconstitutional laws are passed, the ability of the state to enforce them is questionable.

 

“The United States Constitution clearly states that our right to bear arms shall not be infringed, and the Colorado Constitution reaffirms this right. – State Senator Bill Cadman (R-El Paso)”

 


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Al Maurer

Al Maurer is a political scientist and founder of The Voice of Liberty. He writes on topics of limited government and individual rights.

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