Colorado governor signs gun control bills into law

It isn't over until it's over ‒ and this is only round one. Photo: AP

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., March 21, 2013 — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three gun control measures into law on Wednesday. The bills restrict the size of magazines, expand background checks for firearms buyers, and add a fee for background checks for gun transfers. Transferring a firearm is so broadly written as to include any hand-to-hand transfer. The bills become effective July 1.

“What we have signed today are several bills that materially make our state safer,” said Hickenlooper.


SEE RELATED: Gun-control: Colorado Democrats ignore the people


Not quite, governor.

Just hours before signing the bills into law, Colorado Department of Corrections executive director Tom Clements was shot and killed at the front door of his Monument, Colorado home. Apparently at least one murderer wasn’t paying attention.

Mark Glaze, director of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said that if these bills could be passed in Colorado, they could be passed anywhere.

Again, not quite true.


SEE RELATED: Democrats threaten sheriffs over gun-ban testimony


Colorado has a Democratic governor and legislature, all bought and paid for by Denver donors. All they needed to do was heed the advice of senate president John Morse, who said on national television that “his” senators should ignore the voices of their constituents and vote for the gun control measures.

They mostly did so, killing only the two most radical bills preventing concealed carry on college campuses and creating unlimited liability for anyone who manufactures, sells or even owns a firearm.

But Glaze was right in one sense: Colorado was used once again as a pilot for what will happen whenever the Democrats hold the legislative and executive branches of government. This is what will happen nationally if the Democrats succeed in their dream of regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014.

The most contentious bill was the one dealing with high capacity magazines.


SEE RELATED: Joe Salazar: A Colorado Democrat’s War on Women


“These high capacity magazines have the potential to turn killers into killing machines,” Hickenlooper said. “Even if they are slowed for just a number of seconds, that allows others to escape.”

Yet again, the governor is wrong.

Thirty-round magazines are not “high capacity magazines,” they are standard capacity magazines, one of which ships with an AR-15 rifle. Contrary to the propaganda being spread by anti-gun organizations, AR-15 semi-automatic rifles are not machine guns.

AR-15 rifles fire one round for one trigger pull. That’s why they are called “semi-automatic.” Fully automatic rifles are called machine guns and they have been illegal to own without a special license since the 1930s.

Today’s semi-automatic pistols are all based on the venerable M1911 design first built—as the name says—in 1911.

Democrat legislators pushing the gun control bills proved to be unaware of these basic facts.

“Today is a great day as we sign important measures to improve the public safety of Colorado,” said bill sponsor Rep. Rhonda Fields. Ironically, this is the same Rep. Fields with quite a rap sheet against her.

Magazine manufacturer Magpul will move out of Colorado as a result of the passage of the bill. They have said that they will begin their transition almost immediately. In the interim, Magul has pledged to sell up to ten magazines to any Colorado resident who wants them and to deliver them before the ban takes effect.

While Democrats celebrate their victory, Magpul’s reaction is only the tip of the gathering storm.

The Independence Institute is planning a legal challenge to the laws, spearheaded by Dave Kopel, the head of their Second Amendment center and author of numerous legal briefs in support of the right to bear arms.

All of Colorado’s 62 county sheriffs came out against the gun control bills during hearings. Making national news, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said he will not enforce them, as has El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. As written, the laws are not only unconstitutional but also unenforceable.

Recalls are in various stages of development for a number of legislators.

The most advanced is the recall against Rep. Mike McLachlan of the 59th District. His official recall petition was filed Tuesday, March 5th.

Those filing the petition wrote, “Representative McLachlan campaigned as a defender of the 2nd Amendment. Yet he said on the House floor ‘I believe there is no doubt that the overwhelming support of the people that were there were opposed to any restriction whatsoever … No constitutional right, not even the Second Amendment is absolute.’ “

He voted in favor of all the bills despite acknowledging overwhelming opposition to these bills from his constituency.

“He has failed to represent the values and opinions of the citizens of the 59th District and should be recalled from service.”

Plans are also in progress to recall Democratic Senate President John Morse, who observed when he withdrew the bill to ban assault rifles, “Cleansing a sickness from our souls doesn’t come easy.” 

The first official meeting of the committee to recall Morse met on March 17th, according to the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, the organization handling several of the recalls. They have already connected with over 1300 volunteers.

Another recall is being organized against Sen. Evie Hudak, who famously told a rape victim that having her concealed carry firearm on her person would not have prevented the attack. Both Hudak and Morse won their seats in three-way races with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Other initiatives and recalls are being planned. Despite the smiles of Hickenlooper, Glaze, Morse and others, the issue is far from settled.

Editor’s note: This story originally ran with the comment that Senator Morse “said that gun owners are a ‘sickness on our souls.’” Senator Morse’s comment was given out of context, and so the author’s interpretation may inaccurately reflect the regard in which Senator Morse holds gun owners and gun ownership. We regret any misrepresentation of his feelings on this subject.



READ MORE from Al Maurer at Red Pill, Blue Pill


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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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