Colorado Democrats Rally Around Anti-Gun Regulations, Rhetoric

The Colorado legislature has debated a four-bill package of gun control measures introduced and sponsored by the new Democratic majority in the House during the past several weeks. The extreme anti-gun agenda Colorado leftists have chosen to rally around has been exposed in language included in these key pieces of legislation and supporting remarks by Democrat legislators.

House Bill 1224, titled Prohibiting Large-capacity Ammunition Magazines, is sponsored by Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) and attempts to ban magazines with a capacity greater than fifteen rounds of ammunition or eight shotgun shells. Fields’ legislation states that any person who sells, transfers, or possesses a large capacity magazine in violation of the new restrictions will be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor. The measure passed the House on a 34-31 party line vote and is expected to make it out of the Senate without difficulty.

HB 1224 lacks an exemption for magazine manufacturers located with the state of Colorado, which has already caused local manufacturers to contemplate their complete exit from Colorado.

Magpul Industries Corp, a long-standing magazine and grip manufacturer in Boulder, has announced plans to depart Colorado in order to keep its doors open and protect the principles the company was founded on. As a consequence of the legislation, Magpul may soon have to remove the “Designed, Manufactured, and Assembled in Colorado, USA” stamped on their website and all Magpul products.

Magpul Industries directly employs 200 people, supports another 400 supply-chain jobs, and contributes over $85 million annually to Colorado’s economy.

“The purpose of high capacity magazines is to steal, kill and destroy”, Fields said upon introduction of her bill. Fields has yet to acknowledge – either in testimony or interviews with the press – that high-capacity magazines are also used with good intentions, such as for self-defense or coming to the aid of others. The reality is that no bureaucrat can tell how many rounds may be needed to defend oneself, the life of another, or one’s property.

Rather than admit that these magazines have a purpose beyond committing illegal acts, Fields has warned the citizens of Colorado, “I would recommend that you not go to a neighboring state like Wyoming, buy [“high-capacity” magazines] and come back to Colorado. Because if you do, you could be subject to prosecution.”

House Bill 1226 was introduced by Representative Claire Levy (D-Boulder) and would repeal current laws that allow individuals with a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm for self-defense on a college or university campus. This measure also cleared the House on a similar 34-31 partisan vote.

It was HB 1226 that sparked Representative Joe Salazar’s (D-Thorton) recent remarks wherein he questioned a woman’s ability to act rationally while armed, suggesting women become too emotional and may overreact in dangerous situations. Salazar insisted “rape whistles” and call boxes are better alternatives to self-defense with a firearm, saying that just because a woman “feels” like she is going to be raped, that doesn’t mean she actually will be.

Levy has yet to criticize Salazar for his misogynistic comments. Instead, Levy has said that “just because you can’t prove decisively that a bill will solve a problem, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to pass the bill to solve the problem,” disregarding years of data showing that sexual assaults and violence against women drastically fell after concealed carry was allowed on Colorado campuses.

Despite the numbers, Levyhas worried that because “James Holmes was able to kill 70 people in 90 seconds,” the less citizens who are allowed to have and carry guns, the better. HB 1226 effectively seeks to punish responsible gun owners for the actions of criminals.

Levy attempted to use cars as an analogy in her favor, saying, “Cars cause deaths, yes they do. But, do you know what we did when we saw that? We re-engineered cars. We put air bags in them, we required seat belts, we did crumple zones; we did all kinds of things to try and address that problem.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, traffic fatalities in Colorado rose between 1990 and 2000, then dropped slightly between 2000 and 2005, finally dropping below the previous decades average in 2009. Representative Levy has yet to introduce legislation restricting the purchase, sale, or use of automobiles despite the danger they still pose.

Representative Fields, a co-sponsor of HB 1226, also mentioned vehicles, alleging in committee that there are more gun deaths in Colorado than deaths while driving. This is true, but only when including the high number of suicides in Colorado in which a firearm was somehow involved. Otherwise, deaths from gun crimes are far less frequent than automobile fatalities.

House Bill 1228, sponsored by Representative Lois Court (D-Denver), would impose a “gun tax” at the state level for a background check when purchasing a firearm. Of all four anti-gun measures, the tax on background checks saw the least support, passing by a mere one-vote margin.

Senator Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) supported the bill on the grounds that it would simply mean more money for the state. “HB 1228 would save the Colorado more than $1 million by returning to the original status quo,” Giron tweeted.

Though it is impossible to save money by “returning to the original status quo”, Giron advocated for the measure not with claims that it would deter gun ownership or actually decrease gun violence, but return fees to a previous higher rate.

The final measure in the Colorado Democrats’ four-bill package is House Bill 1229, which would criminalize the private transfer of any firearm without a background check. HB 1229 was introduced by by Representative Fields as well as Beth McCann (D-Denver) and passed with on a 36-29 Democrat majority margin.

While debating the measure on the House floor, Representative Lori Saine (R-Dacono) argued that banning private sales would not deter criminals who already have malicious illegal intent. McCann attempted to convince Saine there would be no way for a criminal to purchase a gun under the new law, because such an individual would just be denied by any gun dealer. This reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of where criminals purchase their firearms.

In defense of the gun control measures brought to the floor by Colorado Democrats, Representative Mike McLachlan (D-Durango) nullified the Second Amendment argument used by the majority of Coloradans by saying that, “no constitutional right is absolute. They are all subject to reasonable regulations.” As a result, McLachlan voted for all four bills on the grounds that Coloradans are not guaranteed absolute Second Amendment rights and the draconian new regulations are in fact reasonable.

Representative Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) also supported all four bills. In debate on the House floor, he argued that while he’s “not suggesting that guns are the cause of violence, they are often the tool of choice in committing violent crimes.” He concluded that if the Colorado legislature simply “makes these tools harder to get”, that a decrease in gun violence will result, ignoring the possibility that those determined to inflict violence will simply choose alternate tools.

In addition to the multiple attempts to strictly regulate firearms already proposed by Democrats, the most contentious bill has yet to be addressed by the General Assembly.

Senator Morse has introduced legislation which would place liability on gun owners, manufacturers, and sellers, in direct conflict with the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. Morse’s “Assault Weapon Responsibility Act” was introduced in the Senate earlier this week and will likely be debated in the Senate, along with the four bills which have passed the House, next week.