We've edited and posted a section of audio below that everyone needs to listen to. This was recorded about four hours into Monday's testimony in the Colorado Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee on Senate Bill 14-094, the bill to repeal last year's landmark universal background check law for private gun sales and transfers. Speaking this this clip is Victor Head, the plumber-turned-political organizer who "spearheaded" the successful recall of Sen. Angela Giron last September. Head is now a candidate for Pueblo County Clerk.
According to Head's own testimony, he obtained at least some of those petition signatures by lying to the signers.
Transcript follows after the jump. To summarize, Mr. Head starts by claiming that his problem isn't with background checks on gun sales, but with private transfers. Head then gives examples: of his brother and his mother, both of whom he claims he would have to perform a background check on to "loan" a gun to them for over 72 hours.
The problem is, that's just not true. Family members are totally exempt from the requirements of HB13-1229.
But it gets even worse, as Head doubles down on his mistake under "friendly" questioning from GOP Sen. Ted Harvey:
I changed a lot of people's minds by making that contrast. The statistics are potentially right, although I'm aways leery of statistics, that we keep hearing, 80% of Coloradans, you know support background checks for sales, or 90% nationwide. You talk to people and they'll say 'yeah, absolutely,' and then when you tell them, 'okay that's a sale, but what about a transfer, you know, from you to your brother or whatever, they do a 180. [Pols emphasis] Instantly. They say 'well wait a minute, you're talking just loaning it?' And I say 'yeah, that's what the legislation says.' And they would say, 'well sign me up, that's not okay.' That was the overreach…
Not only did Mr. Head admit to giving out false information in order to obtain recall petition signatures against Giron, he exposes the underlying senselessness of the whole effort. You see, folks, Sen. Angela Giron was the sponsor of a key amendment to HB13-1229, #L.028, which created the exemption in the law for family members. That is, the very issue Head claims to be upset about.
It doesn't matter if this was simply ignorance or a deliberate deception. After garnering praise from almost everyone, even from this blog for running a tight ship with the recall petition drive, now we know that Victor Head's "success" in bringing the recall of Sen. Giron to the ballot was at least partly the result of lies. By Head's own admission, he changed minds in that recall petition drive by telling undecided voters something that wasn't true. On any objective level, that is a travesty, and every single person who lived through last year's recalls needs to understand it.
Starting with the voters in Pueblo Head lied to–and whose vote he intends to ask for again this November.
HEAD: All of the exceptions that Sen. Aguilar pointed out at the beginning of this testiony are capped at the 72 hours. Even the gentleman with his wife, the same situation as me. Uh, they bought a gun together, or whoever did it, and it sits in the car. And when they borrow that car back and forth it is still subject, even if they're married, common law, you know, we were kind of talking about that, it's still subject to the 72-hour cap. Even within your own home. I'm sure there's got to be legislators up here that leave a gun at home with their significant other because they're up here for a week at a time, they're supposed to do a background check. Even in your own home. That's how the bill's written, and that's the fact. That's not assumptions, or, um, up for debate at this point.
My brother and I, similar to another gentleman that testified, we own guns together. We've pooled money together, we have a joint gun safe that we just take guns in and out. And he goes hunting for more than three days at a time, if he took a gun that I'm the one who did the background check on, we're in violation of it. Um, my mother carries for her concealed carry weapon, she carries one of my guns. She didn't want to have to buy her own, she asked if she could borrow one, that's fine. I didn't gift it to her, I understand that part's legal, but there's just so many exceptions that are still capped by the 72 hours. And that's the heart of this issue I think. That is the big divisiveness that comes in here, where it's not about sales and purchases. It's about transfers within your own home, your own car, within your own life, and people in there…
ULIBARRI: Sen. Aguilar.
AGUILAR: Thank you Mr. Chair, and, um, Mr. Head, the language is not ambiguous: "does not apply to a bonafide gift or a loan"–period. There are sections that are temporary, as Sen. Harvey pointed out, but it does not include family. And I don't want anyone to leave here believing there's any question about that…
ULIBARRI: Sen. Harvey.
HARVEY: Thank you. You said most of the people you talked to believed that the background checks would probably be okay, but the transfer part is the issue that they are dealing with–that they have a tough time for. Is that what you noticed where you're from in Pueblo, do you think it was perhaps that overreach that led to, um, the citizens of Pueblo to follow your lead in a recall of their state senator?
ULIBARRI: Mr. Head.
HEAD: Um, that's, you've exactly characterized it. Not that I'm representing anything or what not but I did spearhead the recall in Pueblo, and I changed a lot of people's minds by making that contrast. The statistics are potentially right, although I'm aways leery of statistics, that we keep hearing, 80% of Coloradans, you know support background checks for sales, or 90% nationwide. You talk to people and they'll say 'yeah, absolutely,' and then when you tell them, 'okay that's a sale, but what about a transfer, you know, from you to your brother or whatever, they do a 180. Instantly. They say 'well wait a minute, you're talking just loaning it?' And I say 'yeah, that's what the legislation says.' And they would say, 'well sign me up, that's not okay.' That was the overreach, that was my whole point in this testimony to differentiate the sales versus the transfer portion of this law. That is what the issue is in my opinion…
ULIBARRI: Are there further questions? Senator Jones.
JONES: Yeah, I…so, I hope that people aren't told any more, for family members, that they cannot share a gun, loan a gun, get a gun, back and forth, because that's the way the law reads. And I'm disappointed to hear that that might have been used to gather signatures. Because it's inaccurate. And I guess, seeing all the emails repeat this stuff over and over again, I think we need to set the record straight, there's enough issues to have a conversation around about disagreements, but we should be accurate about what we say. And I would ask you to do that as well.
ULIBARRI: Mr. Head, would you like to respond?
ULIBARRI: Are there any further questions for this witness? Seeing none, thank you for your time and your testimony today.