Guns and businesses, guns and women and guns at the university

Guns, laws and economics were in the news this week and when these things are mixed together there’s usually an important message.

To begin with, Colorado Senate Democrats stopped the effort to expand the state’s self-defense against intruders’ statute to include places of business.

The legislation had been dubbed “Make My Day Better Law” since it expanded on language present in the state’s existing statute that allows the use of deadly physical force against an intruder who has unlawfully entered into a person’s dwelling with the intent to commit an additional crime and the occupant of the dwelling reasonably believes that person might use physical force against any occupant.

That statute had been dubbed “Make My Day,” in accordance with a slightly cheesy quote from a Clint Eastwood movie. The existing statute doesn’t make it a defense to be employed at trial if one uses deadly force under those circumstances but it bars prosecution and civil liability.

It was no surprise the new bill would die in committee in the Democratic controlled Senate or that Sen. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, told Channel 7 news in Denver that this “dramatically changes self-defense.” Exactly right — since under current law, simply defending property does not justify the use of deadly force. Also, the existing statute allows prosecution and civil liability for a business owner who used deadly force in defense of his business.

The problem with being robbed is that you’re never quite sure when a violent threat to steal money or goods is going to take that jump to include the business owner’s or employee’s life. Supporters felt that introducing violence and the possibility, or even probability, of grievous physical harm to the operator of a business ought to be a little more tipped in favor of the business owner than the criminal.

What is especially interesting is that supporters continue to be encouraged to bring this bill repeatedly by constituents, despite Senate Democrats consistent opposition.

Another reflection of citizen unease was the challenge by students at the University of Colorado to university policy that prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons on campus property by valid permit holders. The university’s policy was unanimously overturned by the Colorado Supreme Court this week, but before everybody starts thinking this had something to do with a great interpretation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, be aware this case was not decided on those grounds.

Instead it was decided on whether or not the university could exclude itself from Colorado’s Concealed Carry Act, which was passed in 2003. The act stated that concealed weapons permits shall be valid throughout the state, except in situations that are expressly addressed in the act. CU is not expressly exempted. Accordingly, the justices felt no need to address the Second Amendment arguments put forth by the student’s attorneys and friends of the court.

The last bit of news is some economics and purchasing patterns that do not bode well for the citizens’ comfort with their government and the protections it is sworn to offer.

Reports are that the mere possibility of President Barack Obama’s re-election seems to be stirring another surge in gun sales and ammunition nationwide. More people seem concerned about this than even at the president’s original election in 2008. The FBI reportedly announced 16.3 million people had background checks conducted to purchase firearms last year, compared to 12.7 million in 2008, a banner year for firearm sales.

More troubling for the president and his party is the marked increase in women purchasing firearms, with a national survey quoted by WXYZ in Oakland showing 23 percent of women now own guns, up 10 percent from five years ago.

One thing that we can glean from all of this is that people nationally, and clearly in Colorado, don’t feel very safe in the present environment. For Democrats, in charge of government and being at best passively antagonistic to most pro-firearms issues, this is troubling. It is especially so when it involves the female voting bloc, from whom the Democrats need a majority in almost any election to carry the day.

Actually, I think this is tangible female empowerment that Democrats say they support. But in this case, not so much.

Rick Wagner offers more thoughts on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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