Pugliese puts
 gun resolution before fellow Mesa commissioners

Mesa County commissioners aren’t waiting for federal orders that could infringe on citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms to come down from on high. A resolution that they appear poised to pass on Monday is a proactive step to head off that situation at the pass, Commissioner Rose Pugliese said.

The proposed resolution — initially introduced by Pugliese, who along with Commissioner John Justman joined the board in January — aims to “preserve and defend the Second Amendment” of the U.S. Constitution.

It will be discussed, and considered by the board for approval, at its regular Monday meeting, which begins at 9:05 a.m. in the public hearing room of the county courthouse, 544 Rood Ave.

“The County of Mesa, Colorado will not enforce any unlawful and unconstitutional statutes, executive orders or other regulations and proclamations which conflict (with) … the right of an individual to keep and bear arms,” the resolution reads.

Pugliese said she thought the resolution was necessary based on the level of political posturing that has escalated in the wake of the recent school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

“The president has said, ‘If I can’t do it in Congress, then I’ll do it myself,’” Pugliese paraphrased. “That just doesn’t bode well for most of us.”

“This is kind of our way of supporting our constituents who feel the same,” she said. “We think that it’s really important that we’re able to exercise our rights guaranteed by the Constitution, without ridiculously restrictive barriers.”

She also pointed to potential legislation that could hit closer to home. State Democrats recently released a series of possible bills that could come up in an upcoming legislative session.

Some of those measures include a high-capacity magazine ban, background checks for all Colorado gun buyers, expanded liability for gun makers and increased notifications of mental health issues before gun purchases.

Pugliese — herself a concealed-carry permit holder — said she’s had a big response to the possible resolution since announcing that it will be on the board’s agenda Monday.

“It makes me think that we’re probably going to pack the hearing room,” she said.


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This is political grandstanding at its worst. The Supreme Court will tell you what to enforce - not County Commissioners. I’d like to see the commissioners address local problems, not the US constitution. There are many - diversifying our economy, improving air quality, transportation, etc, etc.

It’s gonna be a long next four years.

Sentinel readers are invited to read the entire text of Pugliese’s proposed Resolution—appended at the tail-end of Monday’s 161 page Agenda (accessible on-line from BOCC web page).

Mesa County Commissioner Rose Pugliese has created a timely opportunity to educate local citizens on the meaning of the Second Amendment and the implications of two “recent” Supreme Court decisions interpreting it.  (“Pugliese puts gun resolution before board”, February 10, 2013).

Of course, as Rose already knows, nothing in her oath of office requires her to “support” or enforce a “federal order” or state law that is actually “unlawful” or “unconstitutional”.  The meaningful question is:  who decides what is “lawful” and/or “constitutional”?

Because our County Commissioners are sworn to uphold “the Constitution of the United States and the State of Colorado”, they have also sworn to support and defend – not only the Second Amendment – but Article III of the U.S. Constitution and Article VI of the Colorado Constitution, as well.

Under those articles, the federal courts (and ultimately the U.S. Supreme Court) and/or analogous Colorado courts (but not any locally elected Board of County Commissioners) – are the final arbiters of “what the law is”.

Thus, in District of Columbia v. Heller, our Supreme Court held that in-home possession of handguns (only) was indeed an individual right that could not be infringed by D.C. – a federal enclave.  However, Justice Scalia also wrote that “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited”, and does not preclude federal regulation of “dangerous and unusual weapons” (originally, machine guns; by extension, “assault rifles”, etc.).

In McDonald v. Chicago, the Court held that in-home possession of handguns (only) was an individual right that could not be infringed by any State or municipality.  Justice Alito recognized, however, that extending the Second Amendment’s prohibition to the States also precluded them from regulating firearms less stringently than federal law requires.

Consequently, Pugliese’s Resolution’s misguided call for “nullification” is profoundly unpatriotic and antithetical to her oath of office.

                Bill Hugenberg

“Pugliese said she thought the resolution was necessary based on the level of political posturing…”

This would be comical if it were happening in a county where I’m not paying taxes.

The commissioner needs to get the training wheels off before she starts taking more actions that cost the county money.

Commissioner is an executive office, and Pugliese should focus on administrative matters. If she wants to posture and make proposals that have no chance of accomplishing anything, she should run for Jared Wright’s seat in the legislature.

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