7NEWS reported from yesterday's debate over the state's General Fund budget bill, known as the "Long Bill."
[T]he State Senate's initial approval of the overall budget plan came without Republican support. The minority party said they wouldn't be on board with the spending package because they're upset with Democratic legislation this year.
Republican Sen. Kent Lambert, one of the GOP budget writers, cited the Democrats' bills this year placing new restrictions on firearms as one reason he will oppose the budget.
Here's a brief clip of what Sen. Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs actually said about those gun bills:
LAMBERT: We have banned, effectively banned gun ownership, from the citizens of the state, including our active duty military members, and our National Guard members. [Pols emphasis]
Sixteen seconds of video. If you'd like, you can queue up the video archive of yesterday's Senate debate on the "Long Bill," Sen. Lambert said this at about 11:45AM.
Just about every news report about yesterday's Senate debate on the budget mentioned that Sen. Lambert "objected" to gun safety bills as a stated reason why Republicans were voting against the budget. The only news reporter who quotes Lambert claiming that these bills have "effectively banned gun ownership," though, appears to have been Bente Birkeland at KUNC community radio–not exactly a major outlet.
Now, everyone reading this understands that Sen. Lambert is lying, right?
It is possible that you are not aware of this, given that the media seems to be uninterested in reporting the bizarre and completely false assertions made during the gun debate by elected Republican legislators and their allies in the gun lobby, which continue unchecked as evidenced by Sen. Lambert's remarks yesterday. So let us say again, once more for the record because the media apparently can't be bothered, that none of the gun safety bills signed into law in Colorado "effectively ban gun ownership." Colorado passed legislation requiring the same background checks performed at gun stores and gun shows on most other sales and transfers of guns, with reasonable exemptions. The state also limited magazine capacity to 15 rounds, which is a more generous limit than many other states that have restricted magazine capacity. In neither case can any reasonable interpretation of the laws passed, nor the experience with their implementation in other states, be considered "banning gun ownership."
So folks, why the hell are Republicans being allowed to lie like this?
We recognize that the media cannot report on every detail in the course of long legislative debates. But when lawmakers intentionally push extreme falsehoods, in a climate where misinformation, outright lies, and emotion have already incited irrational public anger–and worse, with two people now up on felony charges for threatening Democratic legislators–doesn't the media have an obligation to do something?
Yes, that is perhaps an uncomfortable responsibility for reporters constantly trying to balance their access with their journalism. But if somebody doesn't speak up–if these lies are allowed to be spread from the well of the Colorado Senate with no one to stand up and say "enough?" Where does it end, folks?
This is wrong. Sure people lie in politics, but this debate over what are actually pretty moderate gun safety bills has repeatedly crossed over the line. Like it or not, the threats of violence and irrational anger stoked by opposition to these bills has gone far beyond any responsible justification for those who have benefited from it. We, and by that we mean everyone–journalists, civic and political leaders, civil society, philanthropy, the chattering class, the pundits, opponents of these bills with any credibility, everyone to whom an ounce of public trust is given or presumed–needs to speak up, and put a stop to the unchecked lying. We are a better state than this.