DENVER, CO, March 6, 2013 — On Monday, more than two thousand citizens converged on the capitol in Denver to protest six clearly unconstitutional anti-Second Amendment bills proposed by the Democratic majority. Four had already passed the House.
Arriving one and a half hours before testimony was scheduled to begin, citizens waited in line thirty minutes just to get inside. Once past security, the halls were crowded, there were lines to sign up to testify, and a long wait to actually testify. Those present estimate more than a thousand people were inside the building. Hundreds more were outside, waving signs to passing motorists. Cars circled the capitol all day, honking horns in support. An aircraft flew overhead. Switchboards have been maxed out, email boxes full. Comments opposing the bills have been posted on legislators’ Facebook pages, including some from people who identified themselves as registered Democrats.
What was the response from Democratic officials? Dismissive.
Governor John Hickenlooper, who must sign the bills after they are passed, told local news that he is not worried about his re-election chances based on these bills. Speaking of those in opposition, he said, “Not only do they not represent the middle, I don’t think they represent the Republican Party. I don’t think they represent a large number of people.”
He’s wrong. The Republican Party adopted a pro-Second Amendment plank in its state platform last year. It is virtually impossible to run for office as a Republican in Colorado without taking a pro-Second Amendment stand. But the issue goes far beyond partisan politics: Hunters, sportsmen, target shooters, collectors, and those with concealed carry permits will all see their rights affected. There is nothing in any of the bills that exempts Democrats or independents or those who don’t vote at all.
Mike Holler, constitutional expert and author of The Constitution Made Easy, testified for the first time Monday at the hearing for Senate Bill 197 in front of the Judiciary Committee. As an expert witness, Mike got to speak for about eight minutes. Non-expert witnesses—in other words, ordinary citizens—were given just three minutes and overall testimony by opponents was limited to one and one-half hours.
In his testimony, Holler pointed out both the “shall not be infringed” clause in the Second Amendment and the “shall not be called into question” phrase in the Colorado Constitution guaranteeing the citizenry the right to bear arms. He pointed to the protections in the federal Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, one of the few legitimate Congressional uses of the Interstate Commerce clause. He reminded the senators of their oath of office to uphold the Constitution, asking for the support and help of God in discharging their public duty by repeating the closing phrase, “so help me God.”
The reaction? Polite but dismissive.
“Thank you for your testimony,” from Sen. Jesse Ulibarri. Committee Chair Sen. Lucia Guzman looked everywhere but at Holler as he testified. Their attitude, he said, was pompous, arrogant and condescending. It was, “We have 3 votes to 2, we will listen but our minds are made up.”
It wasn’t just Holler. About two dozen County Sheriffs showed up to testify against the bills. Sheriffs, not deputies, standing together in solidarity, backing up in person what the Colorado County Sheriffs’ Association wrote in a five-page letter in January. It didn’t matter.
According to Holler’s observations, everyone who testified against the bills was factual, although the reasons for opposition varied. Everyone who testified in favor cited their opinions as fact. At one point a Republican senator asked of the three hundred people in the room for a show of hands to see who favored the bill. Not one hand went up.
The protests were civil but firm. It was 2009 all over again but this time no one took notice. So the question is: What will it take to get the attention of the people’s elected representatives?
Money seems to work.
We know that the hastily-written and poorly worded, overly broad bills were given to the Democrats by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s team of lobbyists who descended on Denver in January. We also know that many of these legislators were elected with money from the Gang of Four Denver billionaires who have funded the Colorado Democratic Party since 2006, virtually buying the state for Democrats. And some wavering legislators were called by Vice President Joe Biden last week to reassure them of continued support should they vote the right way.
Who represents the people of Colorado?
The Founders designed a political system that protects the rights of the minority on any issue, preventing tyranny of the majority. Today’s Democrats make a mockery of minority rights. They forced through a bill on civil unions, three times rejected by the voters. Now they are forcing through gun control bills which a large number of citizens – probably a majority – oppose.
In doing so, they work outside the framework of the Constitution, as Mike Holler reminded them. In passing extra-constitutional laws, they are literally operating as outlaws. They are passing laws which no law-abiding citizen is bound to obey and which sheriffs and county commissioners have said they will not enforce.
And so the question remains: What will it take to get their attention?
At The Voice of Liberty, we seek to advance the principles of liberty, because tyranny never sleeps.
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