Legislative package of gun laws will 
do little but cut Democrats’ numbers

It’s been a little bleak for conservatives in Colorado since the last election, but this Tuesday things might have gotten a bit better, courtesy of Colorado’s Democratic legislative majority.

As I’ve said before, not many issues can create a sea change in the Legislature, but Second Amendment tinkering and pointless gun laws are a couple. This week the Democratic leadership in Colorado’s Legislature introduced or stated they plan to introduce as merry a self-destructive slate of legislation as many of us have seen in quite some time.

The proposals are, for the most part, useless to curb gun violence in Colorado, or anywhere else, for that matter. The most ridiculous action appears to be something called the “Assault Weapon Responsibility Act,” which would attempt to impose strict liability for misuse of certain types of firearms on the manufacturers, sellers, owners and possessors of those armaments.

Brushing aside the legal implications of trying to make a manufacturer from Connecticut liable for the use of a legal, properly functioning firearm in Colorado a few years after it’s entered the stream of commerce, it’s very difficult to hold the vendor of almost any properly designed item legally responsible for how it’s used. True, with voting machines, we are responsible for their misuse, but that doesn’t seem quite the same.

It’s obviously an overreaching attempt to grandstand for some eccentric, progressive supporters. Fortunately, we seem to be mercifully unfamiliar with those sorts of folks west of the Rockies.

Democrats also want to ban ammunition magazines that contain more than 10 rounds and even go the next step of prohibiting the transfer of those items — even if one legally possessed them at the time of the ban. How authorities are to determine when that happens without establishing a monitoring system or database is a sadly obvious question.

Progressives are also interested in a number of other solutions to nonexistent problems. For instance, they want to clarify that concealed-weapons carrying is prohibited in most areas of college campuses in Colorado. I believe this issue has been litigated under the concealed-weapons permit statute now in place, and the conclusion reached was quite different. So, one must assume this is a change in the law, not just a clarification. It also prompts a question: At what point has any person with a concealed-weapons permit committed a gun crime on campus? Apparently for Democrats, it’s best to pass a law on the off chance of something coming up.

In that vein, they also want to strengthen requirements for getting a concealed-carry permit. Since that has not created a problem, it apparently requires another feverish bit of unnecessary legislation.

There’s also some spooky language related to the “Firearm Background Check Modernization Act” that indicates some sort of “real-time sharing of mental health data between state and federal agencies.” That sentence fragment alone is probably worthy of two or three columns examining what might happen under such a scenario without drastic safeguards. Few of the possibilities are good.

In the face of all this, it is worth noting Colorado has one of the lowest gun-related homicide rates in the nation, with a fairly prodigious rate of firearm ownership. In addition, we have what I believe is an average or slightly above average possession rate for high-capacity magazines and scary guns.

As I’ve mentioned before, statistically, scary long guns are just not a factor in other than a few criminal events. In fact, as part of the Democrats’ legislative talking points, they acknowledge the Aurora Theatre shooter last summer had his firearm jam while using an extremely high-capacity magazine. They don’t bother to mention that it appears much of the damage subsequently was done with a shotgun, not the then-useless rifle.

This is not an unusual situation when high-capacity magazines are not competently loaded and a complex weapon is not properly maintained. This, among many other things, make them a poor choice for most criminal activity.

In short, Democrat legislators are asking citizens to trade important aspects of a fundamental right for programs that are unlikely to solve any problems. The legislative package may do one thing, however: reduce the number of Democrats in the Legislature.

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


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