Second Amendment Civil Rights March
by Ari Armstrong
[The following article originally appeared in the February 2000 edition of Colorado Liberty. It is based on an article at http://www.freecolorado.com/2000/02/rightsmarch.html.]
Between 300 and 500 civil arms activists marched to Governor Bill Owens' mansion February 3 to advocate their civil rights to keep and bear arms. Hundreds of signs and several American flags danced above the crowds.
At least a dozen Libertarian Party members joined the rally and passed out literature explaining the link between libertarianism and the right to bear arms.
Bob Glass, owner of Paladin Arms in Longmont and publisher of the Partisan magazine, helped lead the march and its organization. He said Owens was singled out for protest because the governor campaigned on pro-Second Amendment promises but has since ̉stabbed gun owners in the back.Ó Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners was also instrumental in publicizing and organizing the event. Both Brown and Glass have said publicly that the Libertarian Party might capture the votes of many gun owners, if it is able to run viable candidates against anti-freedom Republicans.
The march was spirited. Protesters chanted, "No more gun-control!" "One-term Owens!" "More guns, less crime!" "Benedict Owens!" And, "You lied!"
Owens was dubbed "Governor Gun-Control" by RMGO and others after he introduced a slate of disarmament proposals, including one to discriminate against law-abiding adults ages 18-20, one to mandate storage of firearms, and another to put the burden of proof on Colorado citizens who are denied permission to purchase a gun based on faulty records. Owens selected Democrat Ken Salazar, Attorney General, and Aristed Zavaras, formerly of Democratic Governor Roy Romer's administration, to head his gun-control team.
The 1998 Libertarian candidate for governor, Sandra Johnson, won more votes than Owens' margin of victory. Now many predict Owens will lose in 2002 because he is alienating gun owners in the state. Owens found much of his support on the Western Slope and on the Eastern Plains, more so than in the urban Denver area. Reports from Grand Junction suggest wide-spread disgust with Owens because of his push for new gun restriction laws.
Many gun owners believe Owens is the greatest impediment to pro-gun legislation in Colorado. Indeed, Owens is worse than Democrat Gail Schoettler would have been, because at least the Democrat wouldn't have been able to pressure Republican legislators.
Owens told the Denver Post last fall in reference to gun owners, "What are they going to do -- vote Democratic?" Many have said they will vote Libertarian.