.A.F.E. Petition Signers Endanger Selves, Others

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

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com

S.A.F.E. Petition Signers
Endanger Selves, Others

by Ari Armstrong, August 20, 2000

Coloradans who signed the petition circulated by the anti-gun lobby group Sane Alternatives to the Firearms Epidemic, the name of which likens gun ownership to a disease, thereby released their names and addresses to the public record. Because signers are less likely to be armed than the general population, their households would be favored targets of any burglar or robber who obtained this publicly available information.

The names and addresses of petition circulators are also publicly available, and members of this group are even less likely to be armed than are members of the signing group. Each petition circulator (for instance, S.A.F.E. paid lobbyist Tom Mauser) is required to provide address information with each petition.

The original S.A.F.E. petitions are available for public scrutiny in the Secretary of State's office on the second floor of the Denver Post building in downtown Denver. Ironically, the Denver Post supports the S.A.F.E. initiative, even though it threatens to make Coloradans less safe.

The Colorado Freedom Report has chosen not to release the information of S.A.F.E. signers on its web page. Unfortunately, some publications have been reckless in publishing personal information about concealed carry permit holders in Colorado. The Fort Collins Coloradoan, the Greeley Tribune, and the Boulder Camera published such information during the past year. While criminals are much less likely to attack a person known to be armed, some criminals target homes known to contain firearms, though of course the criminals take pains to make sure no one is home during the burglary.

Many criminals are deterred simply because they fear the residents of a home might be armed. Yale scholar John Lott found that, for every one percent increase in a state's gun ownership rate, there is a corresponding 4.1% decrease in violent crime. He found the robbery rate fell by 4.3% and the burglary rate fell by 1.6% (More Guns, Less Crime, 2nd Ed., p. 114).

When criminals don't know which homes are armed and which disarmed, those who take the responsibility to arm themselves help protect others in their neighborhoods because of the general deterrent effect.

Unfortunately, the S.A.F.E. petition signers not only endangered their own families, they helped support an initiative that will endanger the general population if it makes the ballot and is voted into law.

Background checks are enforced by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (as well as by the FBI). Because of faulty and incomplete records, the CBI wrongfully denies Coloradans their right to purchase a firearm for self-defense on a daily basis.

In all cases, this is a violation of civil liberties and at least two sections of the Colorado Constitution -- the right to bear arms clause and the due process clause. And in some cases the wrongful denials place at-risk individuals in mortal danger. Nationally, the Brady background registration law is linked to a 3.6% increase in rape (Lott 202) because it prevents at-risk women from purchasing a firearm for self-defense. Meanwhile, the Brady law has been ineffective at keeping guns out of the hands of criminals.

The S.A.F.E. background registration check initiative is anything but safe. If it passes into law, it is only a matter of time until it contributes to a violent rape, assault, or murder.

The Colorado Freedom Report--www.FreeColorado.com