This GOP gun bill clearly off target
As the column below points out, Democrats who control both houses of the state Legislature are using their political power to shoot down — so to speak — Republican bills related to guns.
Some of those bills no doubt have merit. But we’re glad Democrats have the votes needed to kill one atrociously bad GOP gun bill.
Senate Bill 62 would force businesses to either allow members of the public to carry guns onto their premises — concealed or in the open — or hire armed security officers to patrol those premises.
Businesses or nonprofit groups that failed to meet either of those legislative mandates could be held civilly liable for any injuries suffered in a random shooting that occurred on their property.
This is legislation from conservatives who have long and loudly proclaimed the virtues of limiting government interference in our lives. Now they want to dictate to business owners how they must operate — whom they must allow on their property or what specific employees they must hire.
Many conservatives also argue — correctly, we believe — that the most serious issue related to gun violence isn’t the availability of guns but society’s failure to prevent people with serious mental illness from obtaining guns and injuring the innocent.
But, with SB 62, conservative lawmakers would hold businesses liable for any nutjob who walks onto their property and starts randomly firing a weapon. No wonder business groups are among those opposed to the bill. It makes as much sense as holding a homeowner liable for damages or injuries caused by an armed intruder who breaks into the homeowner’s house.
The bill is part and parcel of the drive to allow Americans to carry guns anywhere they want. But business owners have a right to determine their own weapons policies for their properties. And gun owners who don’t like those policies have a right not to do business with them.
SB 62 was introduced by Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs. We are pleased to report that none of our legislators from Mesa County were listed as cosponsors on the bill, but at least one Western Slope lawmaker, Sen. Randy Baugardener, R-Hot Sulfur Springs, is among the listed cosponsors.
That’s unfortunate, because SB 62 amounts to a frontal assault on the rights and legal protections of private businesses. Lambert and those who supported the bill are apparently willing to sacrifice those individual rights in the name of their “guns anywhere, any time” agenda.
The fact that Democrats have the votes necessary to kill the bill is cause for relief, not alarm.