COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 10, 2013 — In a move reminiscent of Chicago-style mob politics, Democratic State Senate leadership threatened sheriffs with holding up or stopping legislation that affects sheriffs’ pay unless they change their collective position on gun control. Senate leadership is President Sen. John Morse and Majority Leader Sen. Morgan Carroll.
Sheriff Terry Maketa of El Paso County went public with the information on Saturday morning on radio station KVOR’s Jeff Crank Show. He said that he learned of the threat via email from the Sheriff’s Association. Sheriff Maketa intends to press for an investigation for possible extortion and influencing elected officials, including possibly filing charges with the Colorado State Attorney General’s office.
About 30 of the state’s 62 elected sheriffs showed up in Denver on Monday to testify against the seven gun-ban bills being rushed through the state senate. The Colorado Sheriff’s association has released a five-page letter describing why they oppose the proposals.
Five of the seven bills passed the second reading in the senate on Friday. The second reading on the floor of the senate allows for debate and amendment by the senate as a whole. While there was a marathon session to consider all seven bills on Friday, Republican-proposed amendments were voted down.
Sen. Bill Cadman requested SB-197, which concerned possession of firearms by domestic violence offenders, be laid over so he could study it further; he is generally in favor of the concept. Such a request is usually granted as a matter of senatorial courtesy. Friday it was denied.
Sen. Rollie Heath of Boulder withdrew his bill banning concealed carry on campus. Testimony of rape victims and their callous handling by Sen. Evie Hudak and Rep. Joe Salazar did not help the case. Clearly, students who had taken the issue to the Colorado Supreme Court and won were not behind the bill either.
The other bill withdrawn Friday was Sen. John Morse’s bill, which would assign responsibility to the manufacturer for any crime committed with a firearm it produced or to any lawful buyer if the firearm were ever used in a crime. It further broadly defined an “assault weapon” as anything other than a handgun, shotgun or bolt-action rifle.
According to Sen. Morse’s bill, if your firearm was stolen and used to commit a crime, you would be held responsible. That’s like saying Gov. Hickenlooper, owner of brew pubs, should be held liable if a patron drank his beer and then committed a crime, such as driving under the influence.
Americans generally favor personal responsibility. Fortunately the bill was withdrawn. The House sponsor of the bill was Rep. Rhonda Fields, who has a long arrest record, the full details of which have only recently come to light.
The large-capacity magazine ban is the worst of the remaining bills. Manufacturer Magpul has said that they will relocate outside of Colorado if the bill passes. Related companies will as well, costing the state at least 700 jobs. Democrats seemed willing to amend the bill to allow the manufacture of the magazines but not the sale of them. If magazines are really as deadly as Democrats claim, such a position makes no sense.
Democrats voted against an amendment offered by Sen. Kent Lambert that would have created an exemption to the ban to allow trained military members and veterans to own and possess standard capacity 30-round magazines. In response, Sen. Mary Hodge, sponsor of the bill, said military veterans should be disqualified from exemption because they often return with mental issues ‒ referring apparently to PTSD.
“The Democrats refusal to treat veterans with respect and trust them to use the same magazines at home that they carried in service to this country is repulsive,” said Senator Lambert. “Our service men and women are asked to defend the Constitution and themselves in battle protecting dozens of countries. They should be trusted in the very country they swore to protect.”
Other irregularities in Democrats’ public versus private behavior are coming to light.
Mark Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, purchased an AR-15 and high-capacity magazines in Arizona exactly one day after he testified against them in Colorado. When confronted a few days later Kelly said he wasn’t really planning on keeping his purchases if someone found out about it.
In the last week, Democrats have refused to meet with their constituents. Last Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Morgan Carroll of Aurora and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo were no-shows to their scheduled town hall meetings. Rep. Joe Salazar cancelled his town hall. At another town hall, Senator Jeanne Nicholson (D-Gilpin County) refused to answer RMGO lobbyist Joe Neville’s question about how she would vote, and literally ordered hundreds of gun owners at the meeting to sit down when they quietly stood to show their opposition to the bills.
The huge backlog of background checks that was supposedly the basis for the expanded background check bill and its associated fee is almost gone. As of March 1, the wait was only 45 minutes—down from three days and only a little longer than the normal 15 minutes.
As the bills are rushed through the legislature, the reasons for their “need” are falling away and the disconnect between the stated goals and the mechanisms in the bills is becoming more obvious by the day.
Sen. Lois Trochtrop said of the bills, “I feel like all these gun bills have done — to quote the last words in the movie ‘Tora! Tora ! Tora!’ — is to awaken a sleeping giant.”
What she didn’t say was the rest of the quote from the movie: “…and fill him with a terrible resolve.”
This past week the citizens of Colorado have shown that they are resolved to protect their rights.
During the debate on Friday, Sen. Morse was reported to have said, “The whole country is watching? That’s even better. Follow our lead.”
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