Legislature 2000

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

Legislature 2000

This document contains running commentary about the 2000 Colorado legislative session, in reverse chronological order. Send your comments and updates to ariarmstrong@hotmail.com. The editor retains sole discretion concerning the inclusion and editing of comments. The opinions of one contributor do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any other person. Commentary is by Ari Armstrong unless otherwise noted.

See the List of Bills introduced this year.

See RMGO for summaries of gun lesislation this session.


May 1, 2000

Straw Purchase Bill Has Problems

Bryan Sullivant, senate sponsor for HB-1214, successfully got this "straw purchase" bill through the legislature last week. The good news is that the bill, since first proposed, has been amended to no longer prevent a parent or grandparent from buying a gun for a son, daughter, or grandchild. It now also excludes gun sellers from criminal prosecution. The bad news is that the bill duplicates existing law and may still punish those who, through no fault of their own, transfer a gun that ends up being used in a criminal or arbitrarily unlawful manner.

For instance, if someone gave a gun to a brother-in-law who happened to have a restraining order placed against him, the person who gave the gun could be charged with a felony.

As amended, Sullivant's bill specifies that anyone who "knows or reasonably should know" somebody else shouldn't have a gun according to legislative fiat, may be charged with a felony. But the law will not be decided by "reasonable" people. It will be prosecuted by politically appointed witch-hunters, heard by partisan judges, and applied by stacked juries. Sullivant's bill will do little if anything to prevent crime, but it will result in the persecution of honest people.


April 24, 2000

Dems Hope Disarmament Plays at Polls

Democrats in Colorado and across the nation are hoping their advocacy of disarmament laws and opposition to civil arms and the right of self-defense will bring them victory this November. Never mind the fact that the proposed disarmament laws will increase violence: this is politics.

Colorado Democrats have repeatedly brought up the same disarmament proposals to force Republicans to take a stand for civil arms. In April, Democrats forced new votes on expanded background registration checks for private sales at gun shows and on disarming responsible adults in government schools. Each proposal had been previously defeated in the legislature.

Fortunately, some Republicans are finding they have a spine, after all. Senator Bryan Sullivant said, "I guess this is what we're going to see in November. Well, tee me up, because I'm a 'no' vote. I'm going to stand up for the Second Amendment" (Rocky Mountain News, April 11). Indeed, the best chance the Republicans have to turn this issue around is to explain to the voters how civil arms save lives, stop crime, and protect other civil liberties.


April 3, 2000

Junk Legislation

Update -- this bill became law in May, 2000.

Say it ain't so, Shawn! State Representative Shawn Mitchell sponsored bill 1309, the so-called "junk e-mail law." As if the Colorado Revised Statutes weren't long enough already, Mitchell wants to add eight new pages of worthless minutia -- to what end? To force solicitors to begin the subject of their e-mails with the characters ADV:. And that's CAPITAL ADV:, with the colon; lower case letters are ILLEGAL.

What we really need is a "junk legislation law." Every piece of legislation put forward for the sole purpose of trading Capitol favors, or as a publicity stunt, or that needlessly expands the Revised Statutes without serving a legitimate public need, should begin with the title, "BSL:," as in, "B.S. Legislation." And note that that's a CAPITAL BSL:, with the colon, because, as we all know, lower case letters are simply UNACCEPTABLE.

Sure junk e-mail is annoying. But it's not nearly as annoying as worthless laws. The junk e-mail problem has already been mostly solved. 1309 requires solicitors to offer a way to be removed from the list, but that's already standard practice. Notably, the law only applies to Colorado solicitors, but not hardly any "junk e-mail" originates in Colorado. As a frequent internet user myself, I can attest to the fact that ads are practically always obvious. I think I've inadvertently opened an ad ONCE within the past year -- and that's a capital O-N-C-E (no colon). Frankly, only a "newbie" or a flipping idiot can't tell the difference between solicitations and other types of e-mails.

As if we needed any further evidence that Colorado's legislators have two much time on their hands, bill 1309 demonstrates once again that the legislative session needs to be drastically shortened.

But unfortunately 1309 is potentially worse than useless. It is also ambiguous. CRS 6-2.5-102(5) is set to read:

"Unsolicited commercial electronic mail message" means an electronic mail message sent without the recipient's expressed permission for the purpose of promoting real property, goods, or services for sale or lease.

You can tell that was written by a lawyer. Lawyers love ambiguous laws because they lead to spurious legal suits, which of course enrich the lawyers. Let's consider some hypotheticals. Sometimes I send out articles from the The Colorado Freedom Report to various readers. I don't always ask permission to do so (just as I don't always ask permission to send out snail-mail). It turns out I also accept subscription funds for the Report. Is my action of sending out an article a "promotion" of my web page? Some might think so. Or say I send out an e-mail promoting the presidential candidacy of Harry Browne. If I mention Browne's books, am I "promoting" them? Might I be sued under the provisions of 1309? Probably not, but not everyone approves of my political beliefs, and, as should now be abundantly obvious, legal suits are sometimes pursued merely to bankrupt one's enemies. If I ever do get sued because of this law, I fully expect Mitchell to provide me with his legal services for FREE! (Capital letters, exclamation point.)

On a lighter note, how might Colorado solicitors deal with the proposed law (which is awaiting Owens' signature)? Consider these possibilities:

  • ADV:ENTURES in SEX!
  • ADV:ISORY: MAKE MONEY NOW!
  • ADV:ANCED SEX ROOM!
  • ADV:ANCE YOUR CAREER TODAY!
  • ADV:ENTUROUS Barely Legal Nudes!
  • ADV:ICE from a FORTUNE TELLER!

The possibilities for fun and amusement are endless. Thank you, Colorado legislators, for contributing to the well-being of Colorado citizens with this new law. What would we do without you?

Disclaimer: Neither this article nor any sub-set thereof is intended or should be construed as a promotion of real property, goods, or services for sale or lease. Please don't sue me.


March 22, 2000

"Straw Purchase" Bill Remains Troublesome

According to CSSA's Dave Olive, the Senate Judiciary Committee amended HB-1214 on March 20, a bill concerning so-called "straw purchases" (http://cssa.org/legislative/co/olive_21mar00.html). According to Olive, the bill now reads:

ANY PERSON WHO KNOWINGLY PURCHASES OR OTHERWISE OBTAINS A FIREARM ON BEHALF OF OR FOR TRANSFER TO A PERSON WHOM THE TRANSFEROR KNOWS OR REASONABLY SHOULD KNOW IS INELIGIBLE TO POSSESS A FIREARM PURSUANT TO FEDERAL OR STATE LAW COMMITS A CLASS 4 FELONY.

The bill originally read, "Any person who knowingly purchases or otherwise obtains a firearm on behalf of or for transfer to a person who is ineligible to possess or purchase a firearm pursuant to federal or state law commits a class 3 felony." Note the two serious differences. First, the phrase "knows or reasonably should know" has been added, which means that even an unintentional transfer to an ineligible person becomes a felony. For example, if a girlfriend purchases a gun for her boyfriend as a gift, not knowing about the man's previous criminal conviction, the girlfriend may become a felon, too.

Also note that the phrase "possess or purchase" was changed to "possess." That's a good change, and a direct response to the concern raised by me and others that the bill would make it illegal to buy one's son, daughter, nephew or niece a firearm as a Christmas gift. After all, minors cannot "purchase" firearms. Unfortunately, the clear wording that resolves this problem has been REMOVED. The removed wording reads, "ANY PERSON MAY PURCHASE OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN A FIREARM ON BEHALF OF OR TRANSFER TO A MINOR CHILD WITH THE CONSENT OF THE MINOR CHILD'S PARENT OR LEGAL GUARDIAN."

The good news is that Colorado law 18-12-108.5 already makes it legal for a minor to possess a firearm in many situations, such as when under adult supervision or when target practicing.

1214 isn't even needed -- it's already against the law to knowingly purchase a gun for a criminal. If Colorado legislators feel they must "do something" -- however pointless, they ought to restrict the language of the bill to felons only, to avoid possible ambiguities regarding children. The last thing we want is to haul off Grandpa to prison for buying his granddaughter a .22 rifle for her birthday.

Owens Gets an "F" for Meaningful School Reform

If I've been quiet over Governor Bill Owens' proposal to grade government schools, its because I regard the "reform" as trivial. On March 21 the House approved the proposal, which will issue grades for schools based on performance and improvement on standardized tests and other criteria. So I'll throw in my two cents.

In general I'm skeptical of "reforms" which attempt to alter the socialistic government schools into "market-socialistic" alternatives. Hence, I'm not a big fan of vouchers or charter schools. Government either controls education, or it doesn't. I favor complete privatization.

Owens' proposal won't accomplish much, other than to possibly convert some of the worst government schools into charter schools (if such schools get poor "grades"). That's a rather back-handed way of promoting this Republican agenda.

However, maybe Owens' proposals will be a wake up call for many parents who put blind faith in the government schools. Maybe they'll consider private schools or homeschooling. With this in mind, and in the spirit of grade inflation, perhaps I'll let Owens squeak by with a C-.

The main problem with the school grades is that they rely heavily on standardized tests. Why are standardized tests even required? It's because government-run industries typically have very little accountability. The schools get tax funds -- and often more worse job they do. So the tests are a counter to the inherent lack of accountability in government schools. In a market system, I suspect standardized tests (run by private companies) would still be used regularly, but they would assume their appropriate role of checking particular skills. Standardized tests are a rather poor proxy for what a rich education is all about.


March 17, 2000

RTD Elections to Remain Non-Partisan

Dave Bishop of the Libertarian Party reports that on March 15, the Senate killed a bill to make RTD elections partisan. Bishop said the law would have put more power in the hands of special interests and made it harder on those unaffiliated with the major parties.

Traveling With Gun In Denver Protected

An out-of-towner can no longer be harassed by Denver police or have their firearms and vehicles stolen by police, at least if SB-154 is signed into law. The House Judiciary passed the bill March 16. The bill goes a long way toward restoring the Colorado Constitution, but it falls short in exempting Denver residents from this basic legal protection of civil rights.

'Dumb Growth' Bills Killed

John Sanko of the Rocky Mountain News reports that the Senate Agriculture Committee killed the last of the proposed "dumb growth" bills. As I've long argued, the alleged growth problem is the result of two trends: the false labeling of consumer freedom as a "problem," and government meddling in the economy which skews certain types of growth and prevents intelligent planning in some cases. Thus, if the state wants to encourage smart growth, it should repeal existing laws which interfere with the free economy.

Owens Signs Bill Limiting Political Speech

Governor Owens signed a bill March 16 that limits political speech. The bill puts caps on political contributions. Of course, Colorado Common Cause and the League of Women Voters want even harsher restrictions, despite their flagrant unconstitutionality. Owens is sitting on the fence -- again -- which only subjects him to criticism from both sides. Owens told the News:

[W]e must now walk a legal tightrope between respecting the public's desire to impose meaningful campaign contribution limitations on the one hand and protecting the free-speech rights of those same citizens on the other. (March 17, 13A)

In other words, Owens believes civil rights can be trumped by majority rule. By that rationale, slavery was justified so long as the majority supported it, and the Bill of Rights is just a suggestion rather than inviolable law. But I'm not surprised at Owens' spineless moderation: he has, after all, flagrantly violated his oath of office by "calling into question" the right of persons to keep and bear arms in defense of home, person and property, as per the Colorado Constitution.

Once the premise is granted that civil rights are subject to majority rule, we can expect to see an erosion of all our rights.


March 8

Owens Signs SB-125

Living up to his nick-name, on March 7 Governor "Gun Control" Bill Owens signed the first gun restriction law of the year, SB-125. That bill requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to deny firearms purchases if records are incomplete or faulty. Then it's up to the buyer to prove him or herself innocent to the government. CBI checks, already imposed by Owens' executive order, have prevented hundreds of lawful citizens permission to buy a gun since last fall. This is a flagrant violation of the Colorado Constitution, which says, "The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property... shall be called in question..."


March 1

The following was contributed by Frank Zaveral.

Today's hearing on House Bill 1258 was laid over until 3/6. That gives those of us who care about privacy another week to contact the members of the Senate Business Affairs and Labor Committee to tell them "no way" to any change to the state's accountant-client privilege statute in order to let bureaucrats and other strangers see our private financial information. Perhaps you can encourage your readers to show up next Monday (not sure what time, but probably in the afternoon) to express support for privacy.

* * *

House Bill 1258, the bill dealing with the accounting profession in Colorado, recently passed the house (53-12). The bill which passed the House is essentially harmless; it continues the existence of the State Board of Accountancy and updates some provisions of the statute. Interestingly, it does eliminate a fairly recent requirement that would have required CPAs to have 150 hours of university education (a B.S. plus an additional 30 semester hours) because Gov. Owens is opposed to such high educational requirements for licensed accountants.

The House bill does not contain any provision to change the state's accountant-client privilege statute which protects from disclosure any information or communication between CPA and client. There was a last minute amendment to the Bill at the House committee which would have limited the privilege in cases of audits of financial services, but fortunately it failed 7-6.

The Senate Business Affairs and Labor committee will hold hearings on H.B. 1258 on Monday, February 28 at 1:30 p.m., capitol building room 356. It is likely that an amendment to change the accountant-client privilege and weaken privacy will be considered again. Let's just hope that common sense prevails at this committee meeting as did on the House side.


February 23

House Passes Tax Cuts

Today the House passed two tax-cut bills: one to lower the sales tax and another to lower the state income tax. The total savings would be about $50 for the average taxpayer. Well, it's a start!

Senate Kills Preemption

The Senate Judiciary Committee killed a "preemption" bill yesterday that would have stopped cities from passing Unconstitutional gun restriction laws. At least it approved a weaker bill that would at least prevent cities from confiscating guns and cars of those traveling through.


February 20

Republicrats Regulate Credit Cards

What happened to the good ol' days when Democrats only wanted to control the economy and Republicans only wanted to control social freedoms? Yesterday members of both parties teamed up to further regulate the banking industry. Republican Gayle Berry and Democrat Penfield Tate agreed on an amendment to Berry's HB-1185 that limits credit card finance charges to 21 percent. Such caps hurt those without good credit ratings by denying them the opportunity to borrow money at a higher rate.


February 17

Powers Threatens Legal Action

Senate leader Ray Powers threatened Dudley Brown with legal action because Brown distributed an e-mail criticizing Powers for allowing the introduction of a bill that would discriminate against gun owners ages 18-20. Brown heads Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. Brown said Powers didn't have a legal leg to stand on and was just blowing steam. Powers' capitol phone number is (303) 866 - 3342.

House Passes One, Rejects Another Bad Gun Bill

On February 14, the House rejected bill 1272, which would discriminate against law-abiding adults ages 18-21 by prohibiting them from purchasing certain guns. The Republicans who sold out civil rights and voted for this bill are Debbie Allen, Gayle Berry, Dorothy Gotlieb, Bill Kaufman, Mark Larson, Joyce Lawrence, Marcy Morrison, Joe Stengel, Bill Swenson, Steve Tool, John Witwer, and Russell George.

Unfortunately, on the same day the House passed SB-125, which reinstitutes CBI background checks on honest citizens who wish to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer. Since last August, this program has wrongfully denied hundreds of Coloradans their right to buy a gun. It is unconstitutional according to the state constitution, but 52 legislators voted for it and only 13 voted against it. So much for freedom and the rule of law.

For recent updates, see the CSSA page for February 16 and February 14. Also, RMGO's page on an upcoming Owens protest.


February 11

Gov. "Gun Control" Loses Round

The House Appropriations Committee struck a major blow to Governor Bill Owens' gun restriction agenda by defeating HB-1242 today by one vote. That bill would have expanded background checks to all honest citizens who purchase a gun from a private seller at a gun show. Owens has been dubbed "Governor Gun Control" by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and other civil arms activists.

1242 was sponsored by Democrat Ken Gordon at Governor Owens' request. Those two officials held over the vote from Wednesday in an effort to strong-arm Republicans into supporting the measure. Debbie Allen (R-Aurora) was considered a key swing vote, but she decided to hold firm and vote against the bill.

Gordon is expected to run for State Senate against Dorothy Gotlieb for the seat now held by Republican moderate Dottie Wham. Many see Gordon as attempting to position himself to run on the gun restriction issue.

Committee Chairman Steve Tool (R-Fort Collins) voted with the Democrats in favor of the bill.

Every civil arms group in Colorado opposed 1242 (though various groups disagree on other proposals). The NRA sent out around 80,000 mailers opposing the bill, and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the state affiliate of Gun Owners of America, worked vigorously to defeat the bill. Civil gun rights foes will undoubtedly chalk up their loss to "the gun lobby," even though the unprecedented activism was truly a grass-roots campaign in which numerous groups and individuals participated.

At this point, most of Owens' most onerous gun restriction proposals have died in the legislature. Besides 1242, a mandatory storage bill and a bill that would further erode the Second Amendment rights of adults 18-20 have been defeated.

However, some gun restriction bills remain active. One bill aims to reiterate in state law the federal restrictions placed on adults ages 18-20, even though such restrictions violate both the U.S. and the Colorado Constitutions. Others seek to expand the scope of background checks conducted on honest citizens by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Owens said on a radio show today, "I'm conservative, except for gun control." As a variety of critics have noted, Owens has succeeded in alienating his base of civil arms supporters.

See the CSSA page at http://cssa.org/legislative/co/olive_11feb00.html for more legislative summaries on gun laws.

Disarmament Advocates Reduced to Ad Hominem Attacks

Disarmament activists are incapable of making a coherent case supporting their views, so instead they resort to name-calling and emotional appeals.

In the February 10 edition of The Rocky Mountain News, Bill Abernathy of Denver wrote a letter taking Shawn Mitchell to task for criticizing Robyn Anderson. Anderson is the woman who purchased three guns for Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. (For more on her story, see Anderson "Well Rehearsed and Manipulated.") However, Abernathy didn't even try to counter the points Mitchell raised. Instead, he wrote, "Perhaps the bumper sticker, 'Vote Republican, It's Easier Than Thinking,' is correct, or maybe the term 'Republican leadership' is actually an oxymoron..." But when Mitchell's comments are compared with Abernathy's, it's clear which party has skipped the process of rational thought.

(I happen to agree that "Republican leadership" is often an oxymoron, but that's because Republicans often do a terrible job of standing up for principle and explaining to voters why they're right on the issues. But Abernathy used the line merely as empty name-calling.)

In the same issue, Donna Burgess of Aurora wrote, "I thought that Colorado was a more enlightened, progressive state, but then what can you expect from a Republican-dominated legislature? It may be a long time coming, but the gun-control activists will ultimately prevail." But what evidence or logic does Burgess draw upon to support her suggestion that disarmament laws are "enlightened" or "progressive?" She doesn't offer any evidence or logic -- only name-calling.

Indeed, the most enlightened, progressive political movement in the history of human civilization was encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. Fascist disarmament laws are REgressive, not progressive; founded in idiocy, rather than enlightenment.

Of course, Burgess' side may still win the political battle, precisely because, again, many Republicans are incredibly bad at articulating the case for civil arms (Alan Keyes is one notable exception). Others, like Owens, openly support gun restriction laws. However, if private citizens, civil arms groups, and researchers continue to make their case, we may win, despite wide-spread Republican ineptitude.

Voucher Plan Defeated

On February 9, the Senate Education Committee killed John Andrews' limited voucher plan. Perhaps that's for the best -- libertarian critics argue that vouchers will open the door to more regulation of private schools and homeschooling. The only real solution to the problems of government schools is to turn them into private schools.

Legislator Takes on Obesity

It must be a joke. That's what some members of the Austrian Economics study group thought when heard about the bill that called on the state to reduce obesity. Yet Gloria Tanner (D-Denver) introduce just such a bill, which was killed February 9 in a senate committee. The bill would have classified obesity as a disease, treatable by the state. Even Rush Limbaugh blasted the bill on his national radio program.

Politicians can't even cut government pork and bloated bureaucracies! When they want to eliminate excess fat, they should first look in the mirror.


February 9

Gun-Grabbers Back Off - For Now

Today both Bill Owens and Wellington Webb were running scared from civil gun rights activists.

Owens doesn't have enough votes for his proposal to expand background checks at gun shows, HB-1242 sponsored by Ken Gordon, so today the House Appropriations Committee delayed the vote until Friday. Every gun rights organization active in Colorado opposes 1242, so the vote will represent a major victory for whichever side captures it. Owens has been pressuring Republicans to support his anti-gun-rights legislation.

For a more detailed explanation of this bill and other gun related bills, see the CSSA web page summary and action alert.

Webb had planned to unveil his tax-funded "wall of death," which lists victims of gun violence, at a press conference tomorrow. Bob Glass and other civil arms activists planned a public protest at the meeting, prompting Webb to cancel the event. Webb indicated he will pursue his political posturing at a later time -- undoubtedly without notice and with a hand-picked crowd. Of course, Webb's wall doesn't list the name of Ismael Mena, who was wrongfully killed by Denver police September 29, 1999. Neither does Webb recognize the victims of disarmament laws, laws which prevent honest citizens from defending themselves against violent criminals.

House Judiciary Passes SB-125

The House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously yesterday to pass SB-125, the bill that requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to deny gun purchases even when based on faulty or incomplete records. In its original version, the bill would force people to prove themselves innocent before being allowed to purchase a gun. CSSA says the bill passed Judiciary with an "amendment to allow purchase to proceed if court disposition cannot be found." The text of the amendment is not yet available to CFR. At best, the checks would continue to duplicate the Unconstitutional FBI checks. Even if the amendment makes the bill less onerous, chances are good the amendment will be removed later anyway. More details will be provided in future updates.

Bruce "Gettin' Gigi With It"

Go, Douglas! Tax cutter Douglas Bruce helped defeat Senator Gigi Dennis' bill 153 yesterday. That bill would have added fees and imposed additional hurdles to the petitioning process. The bill is aimed mostly at Bruce, who is not in favor with most of the state's politicians. The Senate Judiciary voted 7-0 to kill the bill.

Bruce told Dennis not to introduce such legislation again. Dennis responded by having Bruce escorted from the Capitol by police. Bruce speculates she was just angry over losing so badly.

Church and State

The Rocky Mountain News wrote a poignant editorial today calling into question Senator John Andrews' bill that would require government schools to post the 10 Commandments. Andrews knows the bill will never pass, and it's unconstitutional anyway. The Democrats, on the other hand, allowed the bill to go to a floor vote as a ploy to make Republicans uncomfortable.

Personally, I like the old John Andrews better, the one who called for the separation of school and state, instead of the further politicization of government schools. But I suppose Andrews' bill can only make home schooling appear more appealing to parents.

The News suggests the legislative session might as well be cut from 120 days to 90 days, if politicians are just going to waste their time posturing. What a great idea! Do I hear nine?


February 8

Fourth Amendment Restraints (Continued)

Representative Ann Ragsdale (House District 35 in Westminster) made the news today with her bill 1131, which would give police authority to pull over drivers merely for a seat-belt infraction. Of course, like many statist proposals, the intentions are sound, but the devil is in the unintended consequences.

Seat-belts save lives, so wear your seat-belts. But can cops really tell if you're wearing your seat-belt when you're driving in your car? The only result of Ragsdale's bill will be to give police a pretext to pull over whomever they please, whenever they please.

Maybe we should pass a law to hand out Skin-Tone Detectors to police as well, so they can tell which cars they want to search before they even pull people over. (That's sarcastic, for those in the habit of quoting others out of context.)

If you live in Ragsdale's district, or if you are concerned with civil liberties, please call Ragsdale and implore her to remove her bill from consideration. Her capitol number is (303) 866 - 2843.

Tax Cut Petition Needs Help

Douglas Bruce says his tax cut petition drive needs serious signatures NOW. If you can help gather signatures, call Douglas at (719) 550 - 0010 or write him at taxcutter@msn.com.

Bruce also warns us about SB-153, which would add extra fees and requirements to the petition process.

Slumbering Giant Awakens

The NRA is finally joining the battle against gun restriction laws in Colorado. Welcome to the front! According to today's Denver Post (1B), the NRA sent 80,000 letters to members urging them to defeat HB-1242, the bill supported by Governor Owens and the Democrats that would expand background checks on honest citizens at gun shows to all sales by private dealers.

The same issue of the Post publishes a letter by Jeff Andreski, who takes the NRA to task. Andreski wrote:

The reality is that the NRA by and large has sat on its hands concerning the recent Colorado debate on gun control. The credit should go to "Gun Owners of America" and its state affiliate "Rocky Mountain Gun Owners." They and their members have led the charge against the assault on our Constitution at the state level, even coining the term "Governor Gun Control Owens." This "no compromise" group explains so eloquently the real meaning of the Second Amendment (protect us from tyrannical government) gets labeled sometimes as extremist. Well, so were the founding fathers.

Republicans Violate First Amendment, Too

It's not enough that some Republicans in the state have voted to violate the Second Amendment and the Colorado Constitution. The Republicans are also leading the charge in compromising away our First Amendment rights of free speech.

Yesterday the House passed Speaker Russell George's campaign finance restriction bill. George passed a bill with higher limits than are favored by Democrats and reform activists, apparently in an effort to appease those groups while keeping the limits at a "reasonable" level. George's bill would limit contributions to candidates for governor to $7,500. Of course, this has not appeased the opposition at all, but has only given them the media attention they crave to denounce George and call for even lower limits.

Maybe someday the Republicans will learn that civil rights cannot be put up for sale. To compromise civil rights is to let the nose of injustice into the tent and to set the precedent for even more violations in the future.


February 7

Whew! The legislature is churning out bad bills almost faster than we can keep up. Below are the highlights of what's been happening.

  • For good summaries of gun bills and recent legislative activity, see CSSA's pages from February 3 and February 1.

  • Senate Votes to Violate Constitution The Colorado Senate voted February 1 to pass SB-125, which requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to conduct background checks on gun buyers on top of those checks already conducted by the FBI. Because of incomplete and faulty records, in the last few months CBI has wrongfully denied hundreds of people their right to purchase a firearm, a clear violation of the Colorado Constitution which says "the right of no person to keep and bear arms... shall be called in question." Now, honest citizens must prove themselves innocent if the CBI makes an error.

    Nine Republicans voted for this unconstitutional law. SHAME ON YOU! If your state senator voted for this law, let them know you're not happy about it. Those nine are Norma Anderson, Ken Arnold, Tom Blickensderfer, Gigi Dennis, Mary Ellen Epps, John Evans, Ray Powers, Dave Wattenberg, and Dottie Wham.

    On the other hand, if your senator voted AGAINST the bill, let them know you appreciate it. The ten Republicans who voted AGAINST SB-125 are John Andrews, Ken Chlouber, Jim Congrove, Mark Hillman, Doug Lamborn, Marilyn Musgrave, Dave Owen, Bryan Sullivant, MaryAnne Tebedo, and Ron Teck. THANK YOU for taking a moral stand and voting to uphold the Constitution! Also, Democrat Alice Nichol voted against the bill. (Denver Post, February 2)

  • Homeschoolers defeat HB-1335, a bill that would have restricted the rights of parents to teach their children in Colorado. See the Christian Home Educators of Colorado web page at http://www.chec.org.

  • Webb is at it again... Wellington Webb continues to blame honest gun owners for criminal behavior. He also continues to ignore the usefulness of guns in self-defense against violent rapists, murderers, and other criminals. On Thursday, February 10, at 11:00 am, Webb will unveil a tax-funded propaganda wall about those who died by gun violence. But where's his memorial to those who have died because of disarmament laws? To participate in a counter-demonstration, contact RMGO at (303) 432 - 3006.

  • Honest Citizen Background Checks On Wednesday the House Appropriations Committee will vote on Ken Gordon's 1242, the bill that would expand background checks at gun shows to purchases made from private sellers. This is just one more step toward total registration and licensure. NOW is the time to contact your state representative, especially if he or she is on the Appropriations committee.

  • Senator Hillman "The Man" Legislators don't often come any better than State Senator Mark Hillman. In the February 2 Denver Post, Hillman is quoted as saying, "It's only the stupid criminals who go through a background check." Such common-sense is a rare thing indeed in the State Capitol. If you live in Hillman's district, be sure to let him know you appreciate him standing up for our rights. For a more detailed argument concerning the ineffectiveness of background checks, see Background Checks on Gun Purchases Empower Criminals.

  • Owens Opposes Internet Taxes "I'm actually opposed to Internet taxation," Owens said (Rocky Mountain News, January 29). Finally Owens has taken a stand amenable to freedom! But with Owens working hard to violate the civil rights of gun owners, he would have to drop all taxes to nothing to even begin to make up for all the harm he's done.

  • 'Rapist Protection Act' Fails Vote On February 3, the House Judiciary Committee barely kept a mandatory gun storage bill from passing. Unfortunately, the bill may yet come back to life.

  • Abortion Regulation Bill Dies Senator Musgrave's bill 102 died February 3, the measure which would force women to undergo mandatory classes before undergoing an abortion.

  • Pfiffner Loses Cab Deregulation Bill Nice try, Representative Penn Pfiffner. He's been trying to deregulate the taxi industry for years, without success.

  • Powers to the People Senator Ray Powers offered SB-60 to stop the state from subsidizing infrastructure projects in cities with anti-growth laws. "If a community doesn't want residential growth, then the state of Colorado doesn't need to continue to pump capital construction dollars into the community," Powers said. In an unusually fine editorial, The Rocky Mountain News sided with Powers (February 4).

Legislature January 25-31

Legislature January 6-24

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com