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The CO General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn May 3, 2019... 15 days from now. However, over the last several weeks I've been hearing rumors that Governor Polis is considering calling for a Special Legislative session to keep the GA in session.

Given last year's strategy of waiting until the end of the legislative session before introducing last year's version of the Red Flag bill I've been waiting for this session's "last minute surprise".

With the concern and disruption that the emotionally disturbed 18 year old girl caused in the Denver area over the Columbine High School shooting anniversary this week there is a push by gun control advocates calling for gun purchase "waiting periods".

Following Obama-era former Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel's famous doctrine "never let a crisis go to waste" and in keeping with Democrat legislators current trend of slamming their agenda through at machine-gun like pace I don't think it is inconceivable that they might push for more last minute anti-2A bills.

With the Red Flag bill signed into law I'm not aware of any other gun control proposals currently at the state level...but stay ready for action.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I was aware that this bill had been introduced in the Senate, but I was forced to prioritize my time on the Red Flag bill as it progressed and so I haven't read it or even paid much attention to it...but I thought I'd take a moment to mention it now.

The bill was introduced early in the legislative session and quickly sent to the Committee on State, Veterans, & Military affairs where it died quickly with a status of Postpone Indefinitely.

SB19-093 Firearms Rights Of Medical Marijuana Users

Concerning firearm possession by persons who lawfully use medical marijuana.


Current law prohibits a person from carrying a firearm if the person has a prior conviction for a felony or conspiracy to commit a felony pursuant to Colorado law, the law of any other state, or federal law. The bill clarifies that a person is not prohibited from carrying a firearm if the prior conviction was for the possession or use of marijuana that was lawfully possessed or used pursuant to the Colorado constitution.

Under current law, a sheriff may deny an application for a permit to carry a concealed handgun when the applicant is ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to Colorado or federal law or the applicant is an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance, as defined by federal law or regulation. The bill clarifies that a person is not considered to be ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to federal law nor considered to be an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance because of the possession or use of medical marijuana pursuant to the Colorado constitution.

The bill clarifies that the department of public safety is prohibited from sharing confidential information relating to the medical marijuana registry with law enforcement for the purpose of conducting a background check related to the transfer of firearms.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Storm:
Originally posted by Modern Day Savage:
Yet one more point of damning evidence of the onerous intentions behind the crafting of this version of the ERPO bill, and by just now noting it I'm revealing my lack of legal knowledge, but when I read the first version of the bill I had noted a "Safety Clause" provision at the end of the bill, but at the time I thought it was merely an attempt by the writers to provide supposed justification for the need for such a bill...uh....nope...I was wrong.

In catching some other interviews on both the Red Flag bill, as well as some others, I'm learning that the Democrat writers added this clause intentionally.

Colorado law provides that, if a bill is signed into law and is largely unsupported by the voters that through a (successful) petition process it can be prevented from going into effect. However, if the bill writers include a Safety Clause in the wording this blocks any such effort by the citizens to counter the bill. Obviously those ramming this bill through anticipated the stong opposition to it.

It wasn't until I re-listened to the Brauchler interview with Sheriff Reams that I caught the significance of it. Apologies for missing this aspect and not catching it sooner.

I think that only applies to a simple repeal via referendum. I don't think it applies to a citizen initiated constitutional amendment.

Remember that constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot, making it more difficult to get a citizen initiated amendment on the ballot? I railed against that, because I knew that was going to screw conservatives in the state. There were many conservatives vocally supporting that amendment, claiming it was going to stop the liberals from dominating Colorado. We only ended up screwing ourselves.

Storm, I was doing some research and came across this recent article and thought it was interesting...I had no idea that the Safety Clause was used so frequently.

Caldara: Lawmakers’ abuse of “safety clause” a slap at Colorado voters

December 26, 2018 By Jon Caldara

Something seems a bit incongruent about the Blue Wave that hit Colorado on election day and swept Democrats into every corner of Colorado state government. The very same voters who voted like Californians when it came to candidates, voted like Coloradans when it came to issues.

They voted down a progressive income tax plan for “education.” They killed a statewide sales tax and debt increase for roads and transit. They rejected a ban on fracking.

So, on one hand they voted for hard-edged progressives, including the freshman lady legislators who this week made clear they don’t want to be called “freshMAN” because they say it’s sexist (one of their first bills is to rename “manhole cover” to “person-hole cover”). On the other hand, they voted for fiscal restraint.

One reason for this seeming dichotomy might be that we voters expect to be asked, directly at the ballot box, on the important issues. Coloradans are becoming more socially liberal, and comfortable voting for liberals, knowing that big questions of tax, debt, and constitutional changes must first be run by us. It’s why the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) remains so popular even after a quarter century assault from the taxation-without-consent crowd.

We also know that we can override lawmakers via our citizen’s initiative. We the people have no problem doing what our elected officials refuse to do. It was the people of Colorado, not the legislature, who directly gave women the right to vote, legalized marijuana, limited terms of office, passed transparency laws and demanded TABOR.

But there is another mechanism for direct control over the legislature, although it hasn’t been used since 1932.

We the people of Colorado also have the right to veto any bill the legislature passes into law.

It’s called a referendum. Unlike a citizen’s initiative, that can change state law, a referendum invalidates a new law. (Oddly when the legislature refers a constitutional change to the people for approval, that is also called a “referendum,” but that’s not what I’m talking about here.)

If we don’t like a bill they pass, we have 90 days from the end of the legislative session (early May) to gather some 125,000 valid signatures to force a public vote on it. The voters can then reject that new law like Gary Busey at a single’s bar and make like the bill never passed. If you’re old enough to remember the old “Ten Commandments” movie, the pharaoh commands that Moses’ name be stricken from all the books. It’s kinda of like that, with the people playing pharaoh.

Folks hated taxes back in 1932 too. According to the Legislative Council, that was the last time the people tried to remove a new law, a tax on margarine, via the citizen’s referendum.

So why hasn’t the referendum been used since then? Because we’ve loved all the laws they’ve passed for the last 86 years?

It will shock you to know that the legislature found a way around being challenged by us, the voting rabble. The scheme goes like this – if they add the so-called “safety clause” to the end of any bill, it becomes immune from removal via citizen referendum.

This “safety clause” says the bill is so incredibly important, it’s needed for the “for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety.” Our state constitution says those are the magic words needed to protect the bill from being directly challenged by the people.

So, after 1932 the “safety clause” was added to the end of every single bill.

Many legislators didn’t even know it was an option NOT to include the clause. So, bills like naming the official state fish stated it was needed for the “immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety,” as if mass violence was breaking out all the state because of confusion over which fish best represents Colorado. House Bill 94-1164 then restored public peace by naming the green cutthroat trout our official state fish.

To the legislature’s credit, the safety clause is being attached to fewer and fewer bills since 1997. But still 43 percent of the bills that Gov. John Hickenlooper signed this year had them.

Lawmakers should stop fearing a rebuke of their pet bills by the folks they claim they represent. They should stop chickening out and slapping the safety clause on their bills, especially controversial bills, where voters may really want a say.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Our friends at Rally for Our Rights have a couple public events coming up that I wanted to let members know about.

Rally for Our Rights Upcoming Events

Rally for our Rights at Tanner Gun Show in DENVER, CO-April 27 @ 9:00 am - April 28 @ 4:00 pm at Denver Mart, 451 E 58th Ave
Denver, CO 80216

Rally for our Rights will be at the Tanner Gun Show Saturday, April 27th and Sunday, April 28th. We'll have information about our organization, upcoming events, how to get involved, and more. Stop by our booth and say hello! Saturday - 9am to 5pm Sunday - 9am to 4pm

TAKE BACK THE SECOND : A Rally For Our Rights
May 18 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Colorado Capital, 200 East Colfax
Denver, CO 80203

IT'S TIME TO TAKE BACK THE SECOND! Saturday, May 18th 11am – 2pm Colorado State Capitol – west steps 200 Colfax Ave Denver, CO 80203 Join with your fellow Second Amendment supporters at Rally for our Rights : Take Back The Second – a demonstration in support of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms! With the passage of Colorado's HB19-1177 "Red Flag" ERPO gun confiscation bill, people are angry - and they should be!

We really need to let legislators know just how angry we are about the legislation they have rammed through. Making public appearances and connecting our faces to our opposition to their pernicious legislation is an effective way to do it... demonstrating strength in numbers and our unified opposition. Anyone who can spare some time to participate in either of the rallys I'm sure would be welcomed by the Rally for Our Rights crowd.

I know for certain that I won't be able to make the Tanner Gun show Rally. I'm still trying to find a way to make the Take Back the Second rally at the Capitol.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The gun violence billboards that have been put up outside Weld county in an effort to criticize Sheriff Ream's position on the Red Flag bill have been getting airplay in the news lately.

Pictures of the bill boards, the woman who paid for them, and Sheriff Reams being interviewed are in the linked article.

Boulder Woman Uses Billboards To Spread Gun Violence Message In Weld County

By Rick Sallinger April 23, 2019 at 6:35 pm

WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Inspired by the movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri,” Lindasue Smollen of Boulder put up her own billboard messages after passage of the “Red Flag Bill.”

“Sheriff Reams up there decided he will not enforce it, and he has decided on his own it’s unconstitutional,” Smollen told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger.

The six billboards read in part, “More Americans have died of gun violence since 1970… than in all wars in American history.”

“It’s really about education. This is not political. This is not a democratic issue, it’s not a republican issue, it’s a human rights issue,” Smollen said.

The billboards are located right in the heart of Weld County where Sheriff Steve Reams has famously said he won’t honor Colorado’s newest gun law.

“Even if that means being incarcerated in my own jail,” the sheriff said.

He called the placement of the billboards in Weld County ridiculous saying he believes most constituents agree with his point of view. He defended the right to post the message.

“It’s that person’s First Amendment rights. If that’s how they want to spend it, so be it.”

CBS4 asked Smollen why she didn’t just send the sheriff a letter.

“I certainly could. I think my billboards are more effective,” she answered.

The billboards have drawn support and angry comments, one person posted online, “Keep your business in Boulder. You are there for a reason.”

Smollen responded by saying, “You should be so lucky to live in Boulder.”

The billboards cost $9,000. Smollen paid for them out of her own pocket and is hoping to get some of that money back on a GoFundMe page.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by Modern Day Savage:
The billboards cost $9,000. Smollen paid for them out of her own pocket and is hoping to get some of that money back on a GoFundMe page.

HA! I'm sure that will work out just as well as if someone on our side did it. Roll Eyes


-- Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. --
Posts: 15465 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The General Assembly was in session yesterday trying to cram through as much of their Democrat agenda as they possibly could, however this legislative session was finally adjourned at 9 PM last night.

As of last week there were @ 300 bills left in committee and my understanding was that there were still @ 200 bills in committee at the time they adjourned. Despite everything the Democrats accomplished on their agenda there are still rumors that the governor may call for a special session.

Even if there is no special legislative session called for the various recalls and petitions are just kicking into gear so please stay tuned.

We took significant hits this session. Take 5, grab some chow, grab some rack time, gear-up, and be ready for the next phase of the fight... it is imperative that we hit back and send a message to the Democrats that rammed through their over-reaching agenda.

To everyone who participates in this thread and to all that contact their elected reps and make their feelings known, and for all that appear at rallys and who vote... Thank You!

Also, please remember that Rally for Our Rights is holding a Take Back the Second rally at the State Capitol on May 18th.
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[photos of Reps. Saine and Williams in the linked article]

Legal challenge to Red Flag law to be filed in District Court

May 3, 2019 By Scott Weiser

DENVER–The controversial Red Flag bill signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis April 12 allowing confiscation of firearms from persons deemed a “substantial risk” to themselves or others is being challenged on legislative procedural and constitutional grounds.

A complaint obtained by Complete Colorado, but not yet filed, by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), Rep. Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock representing the House minority caucus, Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, and Rep. Dave Williams, R-Colorado Springs, asks the court to rule that the Red Flag law is “null, void and of no effect.”

Citing a provision of the Colorado Constitution requiring bills be read at length on at least two different occasions on the floor of each legislative chamber, the complaint describes how on March 1, the chair of the Committee of the Whole in the House of Representatives refused to have the bill read at length despite a request by Rep. Williams to do so.

Shortly thereafter Rep. Saine made the same request and the chair said the motion “will not be considered.”

In order to waive reading of the bill at length, unanimous consent from all members present is constitutionally required.

The complaint points out that the motions by Williams and Saine “clearly meant that there was not unanimous consent of the members present to dispense with the reading of the bill at length.”

In another dispute over reading bills at length earlier this session, Republicans went to court because the Democrat majority used multiple computers reading different parts of a bill simultaneously, each at 650 words per minute, the maximum speed the program is capable of.

In that case, decided March 19, District Court Judge David H. Goldberg issued a preliminary injunction, saying he was “unable to discern a single word from the tape played during the court proceeding” ordering that “the Secretary of the Senate, upon a proper objection, must comply with Const. art. V, §20 and §22 b and employ a methodology that is designed to read legislation in an intelligible and comprehensive manner, and at an understandable speed.”

In his ruling Judge Goldberg, citing an 1889 Colorado Supreme Court case writes, “The object of the requirement that every bill be read at length on two different days in each house is to “prevent, so far as possible, fraud and trickery and deceit and subterfuge in the enactment of bills, and to prevent hasty and ill-considered legislation”… This requirement is mandatory. If either house violates this requirement in enacting a law, the law so enacted is invalid.”

The RMGO complaint says, “At no time was the complete text of HB 1177 read at length in the Colorado House of Representatives.”

No date for filing the complaint has been announced.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Although the various groups and committees have formed my understanding is that the elected representative must have been in office for 6 months before any effort to recall them can begin...with June coming up several of these newly elected reps. will have been in office long enough and the recall efforts are ramping up.

These recall efforts aren't going to be 'cake walks' and the Democrats, learning their lesson from the 2013 recalls, have formed their own groups to oppose the recall of any Democrats...and funding them with "outside" money.

Please consider joining these recall efforts with whatever time you can contribute, signing the various petitions (if eligible) and donating to them.

[note: picture of Rep. Galindo and the district she represented as well as a hyperlink to referenced info in linked article]

Outside money pours into Colorado recall fight

Tyler Silvy, Greeley Tribune via Tribune Content Agency May 11, 2019 Updated May 13, 2019

UPDATE 5/12: In a stunning announcement Sunday, state Rep. Rochelle Galindo, the Greeley Democrat facing a campaign to recall her from office, said she is resigning from the legislature immediately, citing unspecified allegations against her. More details here.

The recall fight surrounding Democratic Rep. Rochelle Galindo is shaping up as a proxy war, with outside money dominating the effort, according to the latest campaign finance filings on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.

With less than a month to go before recall proponents must turn in 5,696 valid signatures to force a recall election, 99.76 percent of the money donated to push — or fight — the recall has come from outside of Galindo’s House District 50.

The district includes portions of east Greeley, as well as Garden City and parts of Evans.

Still, representatives from the pro- and anti-recall side bristle at the “proxy fight” moniker.

Stacey Kjeldgaard, a recall effort organizer, said the people signing the petitions to recall Galindo aren’t a proxy.

“This is the first fight to bring back common sense to Colorado and Weld County will lead the way,” Kjeldgaard said via text message.

“The thousands of HD50 voters who have signed the petitions don’t think this is a ‘proxy’ fight. This is a fight for their families, their jobs, their schools, their communities.”

Curtis Hubbard, spokesman for Democracy First Colorado, which has raised about $75,000 to fight the recall effort, said it’s unfair to
look at the recall fight through the lens of a “proxy war.”

“We’re coming to the defense of lawmakers who are being targeted in unfair recalls that are being pushed by what is widely believed to be special interests and scammers.”

Democracy First Colorado and Our Colorado Way of Life are both largely bankrolled by Washington, D.C.,-based organizations, including the dark money group America Votes, and Galindo’s own committee doesn’t have any local donations since the recall effort was launched in late March. Those groups have raised about $124,000 to date.

Hubbard said there will be more support from within Colorado in upcoming filings.

Galindo stressed that her supporters have been out in the community.

“This is not a fight I asked for but we are fighting back with grassroots volunteer-driven work and we have already talked to thousands of HD50 residents,” Galindo said. “Their out of district money shows that this is not something being supported by the community.”

The Committee to Recall Rochelle Galindo has raised about $105,000, and so far $540 of that has come from House District 50 residents, although donations have poured in from around Weld County and Colorado, according to the group’s Thursday filing.

There could be more to come, as group organizer Stacey Kjeldgaard, a former chairwoman of the Weld County GOP, told The Tribune more than a month ago that the group had solicited pledges of $300,000, including pledged donations from oil and gas companies.

When asked about those promises, Kjeldgaard said via text that she anticipates money coming in throughout the campaign.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” she said, adding that the money is still pledged but the group may not need it because of strong volunteer support.

Kjeldgaard’s group has spent nearly $60,000, including $50,000 to hire Lincoln Strategy Group, which specializes in signature gathering and voter turnout operations. That firm’s founder, Nathan Sproul, has been a major player in national politics, previously under the banner of Sproul and Associates, which did work for the McCain-Palin presidential campaign.

But the Republican Party and Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign severed ties to Sproul after widespread allegations of voter fraud that eventually led to felony charges for three employees but no consequences for the company, according to national reporting from The New York Times and Fortune.

Sproul was back in the fold during the 2016 presidential campaign, earning $1.8 million for get-out-the-vote efforts for the Republican National Committee and Donald J. Trump For President.

The Committee to Recall Rochelle Galindo spent another $5,500 to hire polling group Wenzel Strategies, which has done numerous polls for World Net Daily, a fringe online website known for promoting conspiracy theories.

Kjeldgaard didn’t respond to questions about either group.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is an article on the recall of Rep. Tom Sullivan, who sponsored the recently passed Red Flag Law.

[note: there is a picture of Rep. Sullivan and several hyperlinks in the linked article]

Petitions OK'd to recall Tom Sullivan, Colorado lawmaker who backed 'red flag' gun bill

Ernest Luning, Colorado Politics Ernest Luning Ernest Luning, Colorado Politics May 13, 2019

A petition to recall state Rep. Tom Sullivan, the Arapahoe County Democrat whose son was killed in the Aurora theater shootings, was approved Monday by the Secretary of State's Office.

Sullivan was a main sponsor of the "red flag" gun bill approved in this year's legislative session. The new law lets a judge consider evidence that a gun owner poses a danger to himself and others. If so, those guns can be seized temporarily while the owner gets help.

Recall leader Kristi Brown, vice chairwoman of the Colorado Republican Party, said Sullivan and his Democratic House colleagues "shut down the voice of parents in Colorado. People in Colorado, and parents in particular, deserve to be listened to."

Brown said she's launching the recall as a "citizen and a mom," not as a GOP officer, but she anticipates state Republicans will support the effort.

"As a party, we are going to support recalls," she said, pointing to statements made by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, who was elected state party chairman in March.

Republicans and their conservative allies have said they plan to launch a dozen or so recalls against Democrats.

Sullivan was elected to Arapahoe County's Republican-leaning House District 37 in November by an 8 percentage point margin.

He unseated Assistant House GOP leader Cole Wist, who last year sponsored a version of the "red flag" gun legislation backed this year by Sullivan.

Sullivan showed up at the Capitol every day of the session wearing a leather jacket that belonged to his son, Alex, one of 12 victims killed in the 2012 shootings at an Aurora movie theater. And the threat of a recall doesn't intimidate him, he said.

“Alex being murdered in the Aurora Theater Massacre was the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with. Threats from extremists like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners do not scare me, and they will certainly never stop me from protecting other families from that same heartbreak," Sullivan said in a statement to Colorado Politics.

"I won’t be bullied by the gun lobby and I will always keep my promises to my community and my constituents."

Sullivan's detractors have until July 12 to gather 10,035 valid signatures — 25 percent of the total votes cast in the last election for his office.

If they succeed, officials would then set a date for a recall election, and candidates hoping to replace Sullivan could gather petition signatures to appear on the same ballot.

A recall aimed at former state Rep. Rochelle Galindo concluded Sunday when the Greeley Democrat announced she was resigning her seat due to unspecified allegations that had emerged against her in recent days.

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a hard-line Second Amendment advocacy group, is committed to help Kristi Brown oust Sullivan, said Dudley Brown, executive director of RMGO.

"I welcome any group that wants to jump in on it," Kristi Brown said. "A lot of Colorado parents in my district are upset with Rep. Sullivan and the way he voted."

But, she added: "I did not file it because RMGO asked me to."

In the petition approved Monday, Kristi Brown argues that Sullivan "should be recalled for ignoring the will of his constituents."

The petition lists four bills he sponsored or supported. In addition to the red flag bill, they are the new law regulating the oil and gas industry, a law that sets sex education standards that public schools can adopt, and legislation that has Colorado join with other states to award their electoral votes for president to the winner of the national popular vote.

Another group is gathering signatures in an attempt to overturn the 'National Popular Vote' law, which isn't expected to take effect before next year's presidential election.

Kristi Brown said she expects to have ample resources available for the recall campaign but declined to say how much.

But Democracy First Colorado, formed by Democrats to defend lawmakers from recalls, is ready, said spokesman Curtis Hubbard.

"Recalls are not the forum for policy disputes. We will vigorously defend the lawmakers being targeted by scammers and special interests looking to bolster their causes and line their pockets at taxpayers’ expense," Hubbard said.

Dudley Brown and RMGO played key roles in a series of 2013 recalls over gun-control laws passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature.

Voters ousted Senate President John Morse of Fountain and state Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo. State Sen. Evie Hudak of Arvada later resigned in the face of a threatened recall, allowing a Democratic vacancy committee to name her replacement.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here is a website link to a group working on the Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock recall effort:

Recall Sheriff Tony Spurlock-Facebook group
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Pictures of the Colorado Supreme Court and David Kopel at the linked article.

Thirty Colorado Sheriffs join in opposing Colorado’s gun magazine ban before the state Supreme Court

June 4, 2019 By Scott Weiser

DENVER–Thirty Colorado Sheriffs joined The Colorado Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors Association and the Independence Institute* in filing an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief with the Colorado Supreme Court opposing Colorado’s firearms magazine ban on Monday.

The brief, written by Independence Institute Research Director and Denver University law professor David Kopel, provides the Court with the concerns of county sheriffs with respect to the effects of the magazine ban on both law enforcement officers as well as on the ability of citizens to defend themselves using firearms.

The original case was brought in Denver District Court in Sept. 2013 by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the National Association for Gun Rights, among other plaintiffs, challenging the constitutionality of the ban.

The complaint was thrown out by the trial court, but the Colorado Court of Appeals found that the plaintiffs’ argument that the law, House Bill 13-1224, banning magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds, violated the Colorado Constitution was improperly dismissed. The case was remanded to the District Court for further consideration.

After a week-long trial a judge ruled against the plaintiffs, saying that the magazine ban is a “reasonable exercise of the police power designed to address a specific and valid governmental concern regarding the health, safety and welfare of people in Colorado.”

The plaintiffs appealed again in 2017, and the Court of Appeals ruled the law does not violate article II, section 13 of the Colorado Constitution, agreeing with the trial court that the standard of review is if the law is a “reasonable exercise” of the state’s power to regulate “for the protection of public health and safety.”

The plaintiffs then filed a petition with the state Supreme Court in Nov. 2018 asking it to review the Court of Appeal’s reasoning and conclusions, saying that the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right guaranteed under the state Constitution and that therefore the standard of review for all gun laws must be much higher than that.

The Supreme Court granted the request for review.

After the request was granted, 30 Colorado Sheriffs asked to file an amicus brief to further enlighten the Court on the issues and concerns of Colorado sheriffs. That request was granted Monday.

In the amicus brief Kopel argues that the 15-round magazine limit makes many standard-issue firearms magazines illegal. Many handguns, he says, come from the manufacturer with 16 to 20 round magazines, and many rifles come with 30 round magazines.

“Prohibition is based on the false premises that standard magazines have no legitimate uses, and that their elimination has no effect on lawful self-defense,” Kopel writes. “Sheriffs and deputies possess standard capacity magazines…for the same reason that law-abiding citizens should: they are best for lawful defense of self and others. When defenders have less reserve ammunition, they fire fewer shots. This increases the danger that the criminal(s) will injure the victim.”

Pointing out that the Court “brushed off” the fact that magazines containing more than 15 rounds were “in common use in Colorado in 1876,” Kopel said, “Banning the very arms that were typically owned by Coloradoans when they ratified the Constitution contradicts the text: the right “shall not be called in question.””

Proponents of the ban, including the prime sponsors in both the state House and Senate said that “large capacity magazines” have no purpose other than “mass killing,” but Kopel responded saying, “Sheriffs’ arms are not selected for mass killing. Instead, sheriffs’ arms are best for defense of self and others, including against multiple attackers.”

Distinguishing between police, who carry spare magazines and have instant radio communications to summon help, Kopel writes, “It may be impossible for a citizen under attack to extract a cell phone and dial 911. Usually, the only magazine the citizen will have is the one in her firearm.”

He also brought up two purposes of the state Constitution’s protection of the right to keep and bear arms, including defense of “home, person, and property,” and “in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned.”

Making this point Kopel says that “standard magazines” as he describes them are “exactly the magazines best suited for aid of the civil power,” including under the power of law enforcement officers to command assistance or form a posse comitatus.

A state statute gives sheriffs power to “call to their aid such person of their county as they may deem necessary.”

Two examples were given, “Most famously, large Colorado volunteer posses thwarted the escape of serial killer Ted Bundy after he escaped from the Pitkin County Courthouse. A large Hinsdale County posse in 1994 blocked the escape of two criminals on a nationwide spree, who had murdered County Sheriff Roger Coursey,” writes Kopel.

Concluding, Kopel debunks the claims of the bill’s sponsors by showing that magazine bans in other states, and the 2013 Colorado ban have “no statistically significant effect on homicide, gun homicide, or mass shooting fatalities.”

The case, 18SC817, has not yet been scheduled for arguments.

The county sheriffs signed on to the brief are: Shannon Byerly (Custer), Todd Combs (Yuma), Allen Cooper (Fremont), Garth Crowther (Conejos), Bill Elder (El Paso), Thomas Elliott (Phillips), Matt Lewis (Mesa), Anthony Mazzola (Rio Blanco), Don McDonald (Rio Grande), Tom McGraw (Park), Jason Mikesell (Teller), Tim Norton (Elbert), Brett Powell (Logan), Steve Reams (Weld), Richard Reigenborn (Adams), Danny Sanchez (Costilla), Brent Schroetlin (Grand), Aaron Shiplett (Baca), Jeff Shrader (Jefferson), Justin Smith (Larimer), Tony Spurlock (Douglas), John Stivers (Washington), Rick Valdez (Archuleta), James Van Beek (Eagle), Garrett Wiggins (Routt), Dave Martin (Morgan), Sam Zordell (Prowers), Casey Sheridan (Kiowa), KC Hume (Moffat) and Don Wilson (Dolores).

The brief is available here

*Complete Colorado is a project of the Independence Institute.
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There is a fair bit of disagreement and push back by those within the Republican party over these recalls. I understand the reasoning by those opposed to the various recall efforts but I believe that it is important to counter political over reach and send a clear message to those politicians and their supporters that chose to abuse their power and I believe these recall efforts do exactly that. When politicians pass over reaching laws and they go unchecked then they are emboldened to continue their pattern of over reach. I'm disappointed to see this effort end.

Once again it appear that groups outside Colorado poured over $100K into resisting the recall effort.

[picture of Rep. Sullivan and hyperlinked article in linked article]

Recall effort against Rep. Tom Sullivan ends

Ernest Luning, Colorado Politics Jun 11, 2019

Backers of a proposed recall of Colorado state Rep. Tom Sullivan over his support for a gun-control measure are ending the effort.

Kristi Burton Brown, vice chairman of the Colorado Republican Party and the chief organizer of the recall drive, announced in a Facebook post Tuesday that "we are pulling the recall today to focus on other essential efforts." She said that Sullivan's foes will instead focus on ousting the Centennial Democrat in the 2020 election.

"Sullivan does not get a free pass," Brown added. "2020 is the year to oust him, with the support of voters who now know how extreme he is. The best strategies are unified strategies and, in order to accomplish the most good in the shortest time, we have decided to pull essential resources from this recall."

Sullivan, a Centennial Democrat whose son was murdered in the 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater, was elected last November to represent House District 37, which includes parts of Centennial, Lone Tree, Parker and Foxfield.

The recall effort was backed by gun-rights organization Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and a group tied to Colorado House GOP leadership.

Sullivan's detractors sought to recall the first-term lawmaker over his support of the so-called "red flag" bill that passed the Colorado legislature in this year's session. The measure allows a judge to order the surrender or seizure of firearms from a person deemed a threat.

RMGO is also suing to overturn the red flag law.

Recall petitions against Sullivan were approved in mid-May. Supporters of the recall had a July 12 deadline to collect 10,035 valid signatures of registered voters in Colorado's House District 37.

Sullivan cheered the news in a statement to Colorado Politics.

"The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the Colorado GOP again underestimated the support we have from the people in my district. I'm excited to continue talking to voters and making sure their voices are heard in the state House. I'll always work hard to earn their votes and make sure that fringe groups can't undermine our democracy," he said.

Sullivan had been going door to door in his district recently to campaign against the recall attempt.

The spokesman for a Democratic group working to defend Democratic legislators facing recalls on Tuesday tore into Sullivan's critics.

"Their recall effort was an absolute non-starter in the district and their extremist messaging did more to hurt their efforts than help it," said Matthew McGovern, executive director of the Democrats' House Majority Project and and an organizer with Our Colorado Way of Life.

"If there was any chance of this recall succeeding, they wouldn't be running away from it, and their statement shows that they learned nothing from this failed attempt. We hope that they will cease this endless election cycle and let voters decide Colorado's future during normal elections, but we are ready to beat them again if they launch additional recalls."

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners said in a statement Tuesday that the group had also decided to suspend gathering signatures to recall Sullivan "in order to refocus our resources on upcoming recalls and legislative battles."

Dudley Brown, RMGO's executive director, said in a statement: “It’s clear from our work on the ground in HD-37 that Sullivan is out of step with his constituents and Colorado at-large. Tom Sullivan’s socialist voting record and radically anti-gun positions will be a central discussion piece of the 2020 general election.”

The announcement that Sullivan's opponents are pulling the plug on the recall comes as costs have been mounting for organizers on both side of the recall push.

Just hours before Brown said she was cancelling the effort, one of the groups defending Sullivan announced that national gun-safety organizations had poured more than $100,000 into the anti-recall campaign.

Democracy First Colorado, a group organized to push back against recall campaigns aimed at Democratic legislators, said it had received $100,000 from Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, an organization mostly funded by billionaire and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and $10,000 from Giffords, an organization founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and wounded in a 2011 attack at a supermarket gathering of constituents.

“We are proud to stand with Rep. Sullivan in the face of this cynical effort to undermine the will of the people,” said John Feinblatt, Everytown president, in a statement.

RMGO's Dudley Brown told 9News that his group had spent $45,000 on the recall effort, including $30,000 on paid petition gatherers.

Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, hailed the recall's demise.

"I think that Tom Sullivan is a dedicated public servant who took personal tragedy and turned it into a drive to make life better for other Coloradans, and I'm glad that he won't have to go through something as divisive and negative as a recall, and I'm looking forward to working with him in the next state legislative session," Polis told Colorado Politics in an interview.

Brown declined Colorado Politics' request for an interview about Tuesday's announcement.

Brown has said she was leading the recall effort "as a citizen and a mom" and not as a state GOP official. Party leaders had not officially endorsed the effort.

"Kristi initiated this recall effort in her personal capacity, not as part of her leadership role with the state party," U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, the party's chairman, told Colorado Politics last month. "We will evaluate the HD 37 recall as it proceeds, just as we do with any potential recall or election."

Sullivan also angered conservatives over his support for other bills, including one that would allocate all of Colorado's Electoral College votes for president to the highest vote-getter nationally, regardless of who wins in Colorado, if a minimum number of other states agree to follow suit.

Conservatives are gathering signatures to hold a statewide referendum on that legislation, which won't take effect before the 2020 presidential election.

Opponents of the recall had cast the effort as an attempt the thwart the will of the voters.

Last year, Sullivan unseated Republican Assistant House GOP leader Cole Wist, who in 2018 sponsored a different version of the red flag legislation that was backed this year by Sullivan.

Sullivan showed up at the Capitol every day of the session wearing a leather jacket that belonged to his son, Alex, one of 12 victims killed in the theater shooting.

Wist announced last month that he opposed the recall of the man who had defeated him.

"Last year, state GOP leadership failed to speak up to defend me when RMGO carpet bombed my house district with negative flyers," Wist tweeted May 14. "Now, these same leaders pledge to work with RMGO to take out my successor in a recall. I do not support this effort."

Wist added: "It is unfortunate but crystal clear. RMGO owns the Colorado Republican Party."

Democratic and liberal groups hailed Tuesday's news in a series of statements.

“Today’s decision proves these recall efforts by the Colorado Republican Party are a sham," said Morgan Carroll, chair of the Colorado Democratic Party. "Representative Sullivan is an honorable man who kept his promises to the voters of HD37, and Colorado Republicans folding shows just how little support there was for this cynical recall. But they clearly haven’t ended their scheme to undermine democracy, since their statement indicates they’re still window shopping for Senate seats they can try to steal through a recall effort."

"The misguided recall campaign against Tom Sullivan exposed the biggest problem in Colorado politics today," said Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado, a liberal political advocacy group. "Unserious extremists and outright grifters have taken control of the Colorado Republican Party. The problem has been festering for years while the local party establishment believed it could direct Dudley Brown's mob to its own ends. Now the inmates have taken control of the asylum, and this latest humiliating failure for Colorado Republicans is the inevitable outcome."

And Jessica Post, executive director of the Washington-based Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, issued a statement saying: “Colorado’s extreme Republicans wanted to recall Representative Tom Sullivan because he followed through on his campaign promises — and they quickly learned what a dumb reason that is for a recall. Representative Sullivan passed common-sense gun safety legislation and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee was proud to help defend him against this undemocratic abuse of the state’s recall system.”

Here is Kristi Burton Brown's full statement on Facebook:


This last month has confirmed everything we suspected about Tom Sullivan and the Colorado Democrats. They are, flat out, too extreme for House District 37 and for our state. The recall effort has provided us with the opportunity to talk with voters and determine that they are predictably shocked when Sullivan’s full voting record is exposed. His votes supporting government funding of heroin injection sites, giving away Colorado’s presidential vote to California and New York, letting schools hide information from parents, and stripping citizens of their privacy and property rights are extreme and out of touch.

The Democrats were so scared by this recall that they pulled out every stop to defend Sullivan: from Attorney General Weiser to Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Democrat Socialists screamed their “outrage” and exposed their true colors. Nearly $100,000 of out-of-state money was spent almost immediately to defend the Democrats’ radical agenda.

We have been able to confirm everything we already knew: Tom Sullivan’s days as a State Representative are almost over. While we are pulling the recall today to focus on other essential efforts, Sullivan does not get a free pass. 2020 is the year to oust him, with the support of voters who now know how extreme he is. The best strategies are unified strategies and, in order to accomplish the most good in the shortest time, we have decided to pull essential resources from this recall and free up volunteers to help finish the National Popular Vote petition effort and to focus on recalling Democrat Senators who are not up for re-election in 2020.

Together, we will take back our state from the Democrat politicians who want to control our families, our jobs, and our industries, and we will give it back to the people of Colorado.
Posts: 5541 | Location: the Centennial state | Registered: August 21, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think the recall efforts generally have gone off the rails. It's about anger and retribution, not regaining some control of the political process, in this state. The recalls should have been anticipated by the "powers that be" on the conservative side after the November election, and organized and targeted strategically at seats that could be flipped. The Dems got caught off guard in 2013, but they are prepared this time. If they can't fend a recall off, they will just force that politician to resign and appoint another Dem for that seat.

Currently, there are two campaigns to recall Polis (the governor), which are at odds with each other. So I think that is doomed to fail, just on that basis. In addition, I think toppling Polis was aiming too high, and wouldn't have succeeded even with a unified campaign.

The Sullivan recall was useless. He's a representative and the Dems have a 41 to 24 majority in that chamber. It would take 9 successful recalls there, to take back power.

In the state senate, the Dems only have a 19 to 16 majority, there. Two successful recalls would flip that chamber, and stop anything else coming down the pike from the left. The thing is, I don't think there's even one senator being targeted for a recall.

The one thing that I think (and hope) will be successful is the petition to put a referendum on the 2020 ballot to repeal the National Popular Vote law they passed.

Loyalty Above All Else, Except Honor

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Storm I appreciate your balanced analysis of the issue and respect your opinion.

I'm not looking to tilt windmills with these recall efforts and, while I might sometimes be idealistic, I'm also pragmatic. For me, and I believe some other recall supporters as well, this effort isn't about seizing control of the GA or Governor's office. (when I worked on the Morse recall I never even considered that it might lead to a change in control of the Senate) I don't have any illusions about winning every recall effort and flipping either the House or Senate. And I'll agree with you that the recall efforts could be a little more targeted and coordinated. The Polis recall effort especially so.

You are right in that the recall efforts involve anger but, at least for some of us, it's about sending a message. It's about countering over reach. It's about countering the unchecked 'aggression' of the Democrat party in their heavy handed legislative approach (ie circumventing rules by computer speed reading bill tactics, staying in session during a serious Winter storm just to ram through as much of their agenda as possible etc...).

Ted Trimpa pointed out just how much the 2013 recalls stung the much so that earlier this year the Democrats formed special groups whose sole purpose was to thwart any recall efforts and organized them into a fund raising apparatus (largely funded by out of state donors). That indicates to me that recalls are effective enough a tool to continue using them.

When the school yard bully chases after you you can run, but running is no consequence for the bully...but if you find the courage to punch him in the nose and make him bleed you let him know there are consequences to his actions. I want the Democrats, in their outrageous over reach, to know that there is a consequence to their actions and I'd rather not wait until the next election cycle to do this, best to let them taste the error of their ways as soon after the debacle of this past legislative session. I think these recall efforts punch the Democrats in the nose and make them bleed. Even if unsuccessful hopefully the recall efforts will siphon off some of their war chest money and man power.

I liken these recall efforts to the Doolittle Raid of WW II. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor the U.S. lost a significant portion of it's Pacific fleet. The Phillipines were lost along with the men and bombers based there. The U.S. was losing, America and it's military were angry but demoralized. When the Doolittle Raid was planned no one was under the illusion that this bold and risky plan would win the war or even cause any significant damage to the Japanese mainland or its war effort. The raid was about letting the Japanese know that they weren't invulnerable, that they could be hit and pay a price ...and it was about restoring morale and giving both Americans back home as well as our fighting men reason to believe that we could win...and it worked. After the success of the raid the Japanese were forced to reallocate some of their war resources to the defense of the Homeland.

I do agree with you on the NPV repeal effort and signed the petition back in March. I think Colorado voters and gun owners concerned about the Democrat over reach of not just this past legislative session but past years can support both the strategy of the recall efforts as well as the repeal efforts...walking and chewing gum at the same time, so to speak.
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Caught a radio interview with El Paso Co. Sheriff Bill Elder this morning. He commented on a number of topics including the Red Flag Law lawsuit.

Sheriff Elder said that their lawsuit consists of not just 2nd amendment related arguments but is also heavily based on 4th amendment ones as well and that they have included an A.C.L.U. paper written several years ago in Rhode Island arguing that search warrants require that probable cause be established and that Red Flag laws clearly do not adhere to that standard.

Sheriff Elder also said that the Democrats have another version of the Red Flag law waiting in the wings and should the current one be found unconstitutional they are prepared to push this one through.

Sheriff Elder was just interviewed for a 60 Minutes episode on the Red Flag Law but didn't mention when the interview would air. (a quick check of the 60 Minutes website doesn't list an interview with him) He did say that he had suggested that CBS wait until the ruling on their lawsuit came down before airing the interview.
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[The lawsuit court filing is embedded in the linked article]

Battle Over 'Red Flag' Gun Law Flares Up As Polis Calls For Dismissal Of Lawsuit


Gov. Jared Polis is asking the Denver District Court to dismiss a Republican lawsuit over the passage of a so-called “red flag” gun law last legislative session. The Colorado Attorney General’s office filed a motion Thursday.

Polis signed the measure into law April 12. The gun rights group, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and three Republican lawmakers sued Polis a few weeks later, arguing that Democrats who control the House did not fulfill a Republican request to read the bill out loud in a full and intelligible way.

The Attorney General’s office says those lawmakers should have raised concerns closer to when the original bill reading requests were made in March.

“But rather than complain then to the legislature, they kept quiet until the session ended, not allowing the legislature an opportunity to cure the alleged defect, and now ask this Court to intervene in a hotly contested political issue.”

The filing also says the plaintiffs, Republican state Reps. Patrick Neville, Dave Williams and Lori Saine, don’t meet the basic requirements to sue because they weren’t injured by the bill not being read at length. It also says it would be judicial overreach for the court to weigh in on such a political issue.

“Judicial intervention into this intra-legislative affair also presents a nonjusticiable political question because it risks expressing a lack of respect due to a coordinate branch of government.”

An extreme risk protection order would allow family or law enforcement to petition a court to remove someone’s guns for up to a year if he or she is a danger to themselves or others. It goes into effect in 2020 and is named for Zackari Parrish III, a Douglas County Sheriff deputy who was killed by a mentally ill man in 2017 who opened fire on law enforcement at his apartment. More than a dozen states have a similar law on the books.

It was one of the most controversial bills of the legislative session. Supporters say it is common sense and will save lives. But the issue has split law enforcement and was opposed by every Republican lawmaker. Some sheriffs say they won’t enforce the law because they say it violates the U.S. constitution.

“I find this dismissal very dismissive. Citizens always have standing when the Colorado Constitution is violated,” said Saine from Firestone after reading the court filing. “Following Constitutional requirements when passing legislation should always be a protected interest. The Constitution is clear, and it was clearly violated. Article 5 of the Colorado Constitution, section 22 states: Reading and passage of bills. Every bill shall be read by title when introduced, and at length on two different days in each house; provided, however, any reading at length may be dispensed with upon unanimous consent of the members present.”

The Denver District Court recently weighed in on a different lawsuit over a similar issue on reading bills at length. Last legislative session, Republicans in the Senate sued when Democratic leaders set up a bank of five computers to read a different measure in an unintelligible way. The judge ultimately sided with the GOP and said bill readings have to be understandable. Democrats planned to appeal that decision.

As for the latest filing, “This is sort of the beginning of the process,” said Democratic House Majority Leader Alec Garnett, the main sponsor of the red-flag” bill. “In Colorado even if a court or a judge rules in favor of a motion to dismiss they usually give the plaintiff an opportunity to amend.”

He added that the Attorney General’s motion is a positive step and makes accurate, detailed points.

“No one came up to me and said a member’s motion wasn’t respected.”
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For any members following this thread who may be interested I've posted some info on the Colorado recall & repeal efforts in this existing thread in the Lounge.

Colorado Recall Efforts
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Last October forum member Storm posted a series of graphs in this thread depicting statistics that show just how ineffective the 2013 gun control measures were in preventing rising the information in this article shouldn't come as a surprise.

[note that there are several hyperlinks in the linked article]

Colorado Has ‘Universal Background Checks,’ So Why Is Crime Rising?

Posted at 5:00 pm on September 16, 2019 by Cam Edwards

Back in 2013, then-governor John Hickenlooper signed several gun control bills into law, including a ban on magazines over 15-rounds, and a “universal background check” requirement. Six years later, few people have been charged with possessing banned magazines, and background checks haven’t increased either.

One thing that has happened is that crime has gone up across the state, and it’s been a particularly steep increase in the Denver area, and local media are reporting that more children and teens have been shot and killed since January 1, 2018 than in all of 2016, 2016, and 2017 combined.

Prosecutors said 107 teens were charged with gun possession in 2018, compared with 50 in 2015. This year is on pace to equal or surpass last year.

Law enforcement officers, community members and health officials point to a variety of possible reasons for the increase in gun violence against young people. They include changing gang structures, easy access to firearms, violent video games, socioeconomic inequality, hopelessness and an online culture that glorifies gun possession.

Wait, wait, wait. “Easy access to firearms”? How’s that again? Colorado has “universal background check” laws in place, which we’ve been told means that criminals and those who aren’t supposed to have firearms don’t have easy access to guns. Gun control advocates in Colorado claimed back in 2013 that these measures would make the state a safer place:

“I am happy the governor is signing common-sense legislation that reduces gun violence in our communities by keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic violence offenders and the seriously mentally ill,” said Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields.

John Hickenlooper himself said the gun control bills he signed would make Colorado safer in the long run.

“We as a community tried to process the shooting that took place last July in a dark movie theatre. We spent a great deal of time, thinking, talking to people, and trying to look at what could we as a state do to address some of these issues,” Hickenlooper told reporters after signing the bills in his office. “We have signed today several bills that materially will make our state safer in the long-run and allow us to begin to address some of these issues head-on.”

Five years is a pretty long run and crime in Colorado’s still going in the wrong direction, because gun control advocates got their wish. They managed to put several gun control bills on the books with the promise that they would lead to safer societies, instead of focusing on the relative handful of people who are actually driving the violence. The result? An eight percent increase in violent crime in Denver from 2017 to 2018, and a ten percent rise in the homicide rate.

Violent crimes in Denver took a disturbing leap from 2017 to 2018, when 457 more offenses took place. The rise in murders from 58 in 2017 to 65 in 2018 is especially troubling — and so, too, is the increase in aggravated assaults. The 2018 aggravated-assault figure in Denver, 3,314, is 509 more than the previous year’s and actually exceeds the total difference between 2017 and 2018 by itself.

Again, this wasn’t supposed to happen according to gun control advocates. Colorado was going to be safer place with these gun control laws on the books. Instead, in 2018 the state had its highest violent crime rate since 2006 and its highest homicide rate since 2004, and I don’t believe a single legislator who voted for these bills in the name of public safety has been asked why it didn’t work. I know John Hickenlooper’s never brought up the rise in crime, though he’s happy to talk about how he stood up to the NRA and signed the gun control bills. It’s almost like turning the bills into law was more important to the politicians than whether or not the laws actually work. Gun control activists got their victory, but the good people in Denver’s bad neighborhoods are still waiting on the safety they were promised.
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[Note that you can listen to the actual KUNC radio report at the website link, and you will find various pics, hyperlinks, and report comments as well]

I've been curious just how many people have been charged and convicted under the 2013 magazine capacity law for some time now and so I was glad to stumble across this article.

Six Years In, Few People Have Been Sentenced Under Colorado’s Large-Capacity Magazine Ban

Originally published on August 13, 2019 11:16 am

Large-capacity magazines, containers that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition, have been illegal in Colorado since 2013. Lawmakers passed the ban following the 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora. Several states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont also have magazine restrictions on the books. But many gun owners still use them.

On a bright, hot day at Baker Draw, a public shooting area in Ault, Colorado, at least one person was using his.

“So we’re looking at a couple PMAGs here that were pre-ban,” said a soldier who did not want to give his name. “We’re also looking at a military grade 30-round magazine that I acquired over the years of service. And we’re looking at a Vietnam-era 20-round mag for an M16.”

Before shooting at a public range in northern Colorado, a soldier shows a few of the large-capacity magazines that he says were acquired before the Colorado ban took effect in 2013.

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

The soldier says his magazines are legal, purchased before the law took effect. Six years into the ban, he says large-capacity magazines are pretty common among gun owners he knows.

“Whether it be for recreation,” he said, “or that sense of they’re carrying something a servicemember or a policeman would carry.”

Six Years, 11 Sentenced
On July 20, 2012, a shooter killed 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Months later, Colorado lawmakers voted to ban the sale of large-capacity magazines as part of a suite of gun bills.

Calls for new gun laws often follow mass shootings, but whether or not those laws actually work to reduce gun violence is a different story. In the six years since Colorado’s magazine ban went into effect, few people have been sentenced for violating it.

Generally, people who are using large-capacity magazines, at a shooting range for example, aren’t the ones getting in trouble for having them. Data from Colorado’s Office of the State Court Administrator analyzed by Guns & America show that since 2013, 104 cases have included charges for violating this statute.

Over the six years the ban has been in place, just 11 people, all men in their 20s and 30s, have been convicted and sentenced for violating the magazine ban.

Lawyers in Colorado’s 18th Judicial District have prosecuted about a dozen of these cases.

“We don’t have roving patrols of police officers going door-to-door saying, ‘Hey do you have an extended magazine?’” District Attorney George Brauchler, an elected Republican, explained. “The way law enforcement comes across these things is they have reason to contact someone for a different crime.”

State data indicate that the most common connected offenses relate to drugs and weapons.

Brauchler does not think the law has had an impact on crime and, in his role as the district attorney who prosecuted the Aurora theater shooter, he does not think the magazine ban would have made a difference in that incident.

“I just don’t think that you can argue that ‘Man, if we just reduced the magazine capacity enough, we’re gonna save lives,’” he said. “I think that is speculative.”

The Aurora theater shooter used a 100-round magazine; the incident ended when his weapon jammed, so knowing what would have happened had he been using a magazine with a lower capacity is speculation.

Broadly, reducing mass shootings through legislation is difficult because mass shootings are rare compared to other types of gun violence.

A recent study by the RAND Corporation found no research to suggest that magazine bans reduce outcomes like firearm suicides or officer-involved shootings. Research on the effect of banning large-capacity magazines on mass shootings and violent crime was inconclusive.

‘The Right Thing To Be Doing’
Colorado State Sen. Rhonda Fields, a Democract, sponsored the magazine ban in 2013. At the time, she represented the district that included the site of the Aurora theater shooting. Upon hearing about the incident, she described feeling like her “world was crumbling.” Fields’ own son had been shot and killed years before.

“So when this happened in my community,” Fields said, “it was like re-living the pain associated with gun violence all over again.”

Fields said that she was surprised that so few people have been prosecuted for violating the ban. But she brought up the large-capacity magazines used in Sandy Hook, San Bernadino and in the shooting of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, and suggested that Colorado’s ban may have thwarted other potential incidents.

“The number of people that have been charged or convicted, it’s not great,” Field said. “But when you think about the future, I think the right thing to be doing is to limit that capacity.”

The future of these policies, however, is uncertain. California’s ban is the subject of an ongoing legal challenge. In Colorado, a lawsuit against the ban has reached the state’s Supreme Court.

About The Reporting
Guns & America analyzed data obtained from Colorado’s Office of the State Court Administrator. Explore the data here.

Guns & America is a public media reporting project on the role of guns in American life.

Copyright 2019 Guns and America. To see more, visit Guns and America.
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