Pro-Gun Columbine “Backlash” Snares Aurora Shooting Victims

Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi.

Aurora shooting victim Jessica Ghawi.

Huffington Post’s Gabriel Arana took note of a story on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show late last week that we’re surprised hasn’t received more local coverage, and we didn’t want it to escape mention. The parents of one of the victims of the 2012 Aurora theater mass shooting, a case currently being tried in an Arapahoe County court, sued online gun dealers who sold the alleged perpetrator of that crime some of the ammunition and other items used in the massacre.

But a law passed in 2000 by the GOP-controlled Colorado General Assembly and signed into law by GOP Gov. Bill Owens turned Sandy and Lonnie Phillips’ pursuit of justice for shooting victim Jessica Ghawi into a nightmare:

Maddow opened her show with heart-rending footage of the Aurora trial. She highlighted the testimony of Brenton Lowak, whose friend Jessica Ghawi — a 24-year-old aspiring sports reporter — died in the shooting.

Here’s the part that set off the Outrage-O-Meter: Jessica’s parents have been ordered by a judge in Colorado to pay $220,000 to the gun retailers who sold Holmes his weapon.

The parents unsuccessfully sued the retailers whose products were used in the Aurora shooting. Colorado state law requires that plaintiffs who sue the manufacturers or dealers of gun products pay the companies’ legal fees if they lose.

“That’s not a typo,” Maddow said, adding, “The mother and father of the victim who died in the Aurora mass shooting have just been ordered to pay a quarter-million dollars to the gun retailers who sold the bullets that were used in the Aurora mass shooting — the parents of the girl who was killed.”

A Reuters blog post by attorney Alison Frankel explains what happened here:

In 2014, Ghawi’s mother and stepfather, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, sued the companies that supplied Holmes with ammunition and body armor. The suit named Lucky Gunner, which operates as BulkAmmo.com and sold Holmes more than 4,000 rounds of ammunition; The Sportsman’s Guide, which sold him a 100-round magazine and 700 rounds; BTP Arms, which supplied two canisters of tear gas; and Bullet Proof Body Armor.

The Phillipses’ suit faced long odds. Both the U.S. and Colorado (along with many other states) have laws shielding guns and ammo dealers from liability to shooting victims in most circumstances. (They may be responsible, for instance, if they’ve sold a defective product or violated gun sale regulations.) The federal law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005, has been subjected to many challenges, including allegations that it violates the constitutional separation of powers doctrine because it impinges on states’ lawmaking powers and the constitutional due process rights of shooting victims with common-law claims. According to the Justice Department, those constitutional challenges have all failed.

But the Phillipses and their lawyers at Arnold & Porter argued their case was different because the dealers sold weaponry to Holmes over the Internet, without ever seeing his face or assessing his state of mind. That made the dealers negligent, the Phillipses said, despite their protections under state and federal law. [Pols emphasis] “A crazed, homicidal killer should not be able to amass a military arsenal, without showing his face or answering a single question, with the simple click of a mouse,” the Brady Center gun control advocacy group said in a statement announcing the Phillipses’ suit, in which Brady Center lawyers are also involved. “If businesses choose to sell military-grade equipment online, they must screen purchasers to prevent arming people like James Holmes.”

Unfortunately for the Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, in 2000, the Colorado legislature passed House Bill 00-1208. This legislation was part of the intense debates over gun safety that took place in the aftermath of the Columbine High School mass shooting in April of 1999. Most Colorado residents only remember the constitutional ballot measure, Amendment 22, which closed the so-called “gun show loophole” that allowed guns to be sold at shows without a background check. But House Bill 00-1208 was part of a backlash against greater gun control, mostly backed by Republican legislators. Similar legislation was passed at the federal level in 2005. Here’s what House Bill 00-1208 says:

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 30)

The first round of the NFL Draft is tonight; are you excited for the Denver Broncos to draft an offensive lineman? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► There are just five days to go in the 2015 Colorado legislative session, and the end couldn’t come quicker for Senate puppet President Bill Cadman. Maybe Sen. Tim Neville will let him leave early now that he’s done the bidding of the far right and allowed a late bill exemption for a big abortion bill. John Frank of the Denver Post has more on the biggest matsah ball under the golden dome:

The measure gets its first hearing Thursday and probably will land on the Senate floor for a vote and heated debate in the final days before Wednesday’s adjournment.

It will bookend a session that began with a partisan tone in the Senate, where Republicans used their newfound majority to push a conservative agenda that generated controversy.

“It’s an unfortunate way to define a whole session,” said Senate Democratic leader Morgan Carroll of Aurora.

 

► While Colorado Republicans make a last-ditch effort to pass legislation restricting abortions, they also made sure to kill a bill that would have continued a very successful program aimed at preventing teen pregnancies. But wait, there’s more irony! As Think Progress notes:

Colorado Republicans have officially voted to eliminate funding for an award-winning family planning program that has contributed to a staggering 40 percent drop in the state’s teen birth rate over the past five years.

Ironically, the vote to deny funding from the program came just one day after it received a prestigious award from the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), which periodically honors particularly effective reproductive health initiatives at its annual conference.

► The Aurora Sentinel sums up Day 3 of the Aurora Theater Shooting Trial.

 

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Bill Cadman Leads Republicans Over the Cliff on Personhood

Senate President Bill Cadman leads Republicans off a cliff once again.

Senate President Bill Cadman should have hit the brakes earlier.

“Justice.” Senate President Bill Cadman said it again…and again…and again in discussing SB-268, the fetal homicide/Personhood legislation he crammed through the State Senate despite objections and proposed amendments from Democrats. Cadman has repeatedly said that his legislation, which was introduced in the aftermath of a brutal crime against a pregnant woman in Longmont in March, is about “justice” in allowing prosecutors to seek murder charges in the death of an unborn child.

But SB-268 is really a bill about “Personhood,” which would change the definition of a “person” to include “an unborn person at every age of gestation.” We’ve said it before in this space, and Cadman and his fellow Republicans proved Monday that SB-268 was always about Personhood, first and foremost. As John Frank of the Denver Post explains:

In the Senate debate, Democrats unsuccessfully sought to amend the bill to take out the language defining a person as an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” Another amendment that failed would have gutted the measure to only increase the penalties in attacks on pregnant women under Colorado’s current law.

The critics cited concerns that Senate Bill 268 included verbatim sections from model legislation proposed by Americans United for Life, an anti- organization, and cited similar laws in other states where district attorneys prosecuted pregnant mothers for endangering the child.

As any political observer with half a brain could have forseen, Senate Democrats offered up amendments Monday that would have removed the “Personhood” language from SB-268. Cadman had Republicans entrenched by now, however, so the GOP refused to accept the amendments…and things got worse in the process.

CMurphyTweet

Former Denver Post editor Chuck Murphy was among those (via Twitter) who noticed the GOP’s problem with SB-268.

Republican Sen. Ellen Roberts actually conceded that the real point of SB-268 was to declare a fetus a person, and Assistant Majority Leader Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) began droning on about the importance of extending constitutional rights to the unborn. In voting down the proposed amendments, Senate Republicans are now on record in support of Personhood, which Colorado voters have flatly rejected every time it has appeared as a ballot measure. These votes will be used often in 2016 against Republicans seeking re-election, and it’s gonna sting. The advertisements write themselves: “When Republicans gained control of the State Senate, they pushed a Personhood bill that contained similar language to ballot measures that Colorado voters have opposed on three separate occasions.”

There was never any real chance that SB-268 would make it out of the State House, and Monday’s actions only ensured as much. But Cadman’s “leadership” here may very well give Democrats everything they need to re-take control of the State Senate in 2016. This bill was going to be stuck with the “Personhood” tag no matter how many times Cadman said the word “justice.”

Colorado already has the “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act” on the books — and has since 2013 — so there was no real practical need for Cadman to rage around the State Capitol for the last month. If Cadman truly didn’t realize that he was walking his caucus into a Personhood debate, then he is in no way capable of leading Senate Republicans in 2016.

If Cadman did realize this problem ahead of time, but pushed forward anyway…well, he is in no way capable of leading Senate Republicans in 2016.

 

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 28)

Hey, there it is! Welcome back, Sun. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Prosecutors are scheduled to call their first witness today in the Aurora Theater Shooting trial. The Aurora Sentinel provides a handy update for Day Two.

► As the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments over same-sex marriage, experts on both sides of the argument seem to think equality is a foregone conclusion. Or…maybe not?

► So-called fetal homicide Personhood legislation limped out of the State Senate yesterday. Senate Bill 268 is unlikely to make it through the State House, especially after running into all manner of political problems in the Senate. 

 

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Buck Wants to Weaken DC Gun-Safety Laws, Calls Colorado Pols “Knuckleheads”

(Eh, we’ll take “knuckleheads.” — promoted by Colorado Pols)

After being investigated by Washington DC authorities for having an AR-15 assault rifle in his Washington office, freshman Republican Congressman Ken Buck said he intends to use his congressional committee assignments to weaken DC gun-saftey laws, which are among the nation’s toughest.

Asked on NRA News’ “Cam and Co” Show April 23 if he now has “added impetus” to address DC’s gun laws, Buck replied, “Yes, it does,” noting that the issue falls under the jurisdiction of two committees on which he sits: the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees.

“It’s something I will look at,” said Buck on the podcast, noting that it’s not “on the top of the heap,” but he’s already talked to other Members of Congress about it.

“There is going to be an effort to look at what DC does and to try to rein in the really irrational–if you’re an honest law-abiding citizen, you want to have a means to protect yourself,” Buck said on air, discussing Washington’s gun-safety laws. “And it’s just unbelievable that people in DC believe that honest people should not be able to protect themselves. They should be victimized.”

Buck revealed the presence of the assault weapon in his office last week, when he tweeted a photo of it along with: “My friend Trey Gowdy stopped by the office — had to show him my AR-15 to commemorate the occasion.”

The tweet was first reported by the progressive blog ColoradoPols, which Buck referred to as “knuckleheads” in his NRA news interview.

“There were some knuckleheads back in Colorado that decided they wanted to cause some problems, and so they forwarded the picture to the Attorney General here in DC,” Buck said, when asked how Washington authorities became aware of the assault weapon in his office.

It appears that Buck did not break Capitol-Police rules by having the weapon in his office, but the Metropolitan DC Police have apparently not commented. The Washington DC Attorney General looked into the matter and referred it to the DC police,

“As conservatives, we are more cautious [with their weapons], because we understand that there is a double standard,” Buck said on air. “But in this case they ate crow, and I hope they continue to eat crow for a long time. I hope other Congressmen see that they can have a gun in their office and follow the lead.”

“I have a very patriotic AR15 hanging in my office. It hangs directly above my Second Amendment flag,” Buck said in a statement, as reported by The Denver Post.

Baltimore Exploding in Violent Protests, Riots

Image from WBAL 11 in Baltimore, MD

Image from WBAL 11 in Baltimore, MD

This is not directly related to Colorado, of course, but as the issue of police “brutality” continues to rise in the public consciousness, so does the level of violence. As CNN reports:

A riot erupted on the streets of Baltimore late Monday as protesters clashed with police, several of whom were injured.

“This afternoon, a group of outrageous criminals attacked our officers. Right now, we have seven officers that have serious injuries, including broken bones, and one officer who is unconscious,” Capt. Eric Kowalczyk told reporters…

…Earlier in the day, the Baltimore Police Department said it had received a “credible threat” that gangs were teaming up to “take out” officers.

It did not say where the information came from, nor did it say whether the threat was tied to the recent death of Freddie Gray. Gray died in police custody under circumstances that remain unclear. [Pols emphasis]

His death has sparked ongoing protests in Baltimore and raised long-simmering tensions between police and residents there.

WBAL-TV has more on the fires that are now breaking out at various stores. Maryland State Police Officers are being dispatched by the Baltimore Police Commissioner, and Gov. Larry Hogan has placed the National Guard on alert.

Get More Smarter on Monday (April 27)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

Opening Statements begin today in the Aurora Theater Shooting trial, nearly three years after the attack at a late-night screening of The Dark Knight Rises. The Associated Press takes a look at what to expect over the next several weeks as attorneys attempt to deal with an “insanity” plea. Aurora Sentinel editor Dave Perry has a very thoughtful take on what is sure to be an unpleasant summer for all involved with the trial.

► The Office of Consumer Counsel is a hot topic this week in the legislature. Democrats in the House have introduced legislation to re-authorize the OCC without stripping it of authority over the telecommunications industry.

► The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee held a “field hearing” in Denver on Friday to discuss the myriad of problems associated with construction of a new VA Hospital in Aurora. Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) also attended the hearing, which came on the same day as a new report showing that Coffman hasn’t done much “oversight” despite being the Chairman of the House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 21)

We’ve been up early celebrating 4/21. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The U.S. Senate may finally get around to voting on President Obama’s nomination of Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. If you had “five months” in the pool for “How long will it take for Republicans to approve a new Attorney General?” you might win some money.

► Look on the bright side, Rep. Ken Buck. You almost made it four whole months in D.C. without breaking the law. Don’t forget, Polsters: You read it here first.

 

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BREAKING: D.C. Attorney General Investigating Ken Buck’s Assault Weapon

UPDATE #3: The Denver Post updates, authorities in D.C. wash their proverbial hands:

Tuesday, the U.S. Capitol Police, which are responsible for protecting Congress, said everything was OK. Same goes for D.C. authorities, who wrote Tuesday afternoon that Capitol Police were handling the matter.

That’s a slight change from midday Tuesday, when it appeared as if D.C. authorities might investigate the gun and the photo. [Pols emphasis] A spokesman with the Office of the Attorney General in D.C. said the matter had been referred to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Meanwhile, Rep. Ken Buck is doing what politicians do best with any controversy–fundraising!

The Second Amendment exists to protect your God-given right to bear arms. The actions by Anti-Gun Liberals against Trey Gowdy and me are just another attempt to strip us of our rights. Donate here today to help strengthen our fight against anti-gun activists.

It’s good to be a lawmaker. Original post follows.

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UPDATE #2: The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews:

The post soon attracted the attention of the liberal blog Colorado Pols, which raised the question of whether Buck was showcasing an illegal assault weapon in his Capitol Hill office. At issue was whether Buck was in violation of the strict gun laws of Washington D.C — which prohibit assault weapons that include the AR-15…

A spokesman with the Office of the Attorney General in Washington said the matter was referred to the Metropolitan Police Department. A call and email to D.C. police were not immediately returned with comment.

“We have received several inquiries about the situation and have referred them and all relevant information to the Metropolitan Police Department for investigation,” said Robert Marus, spokesman for the D.C. attorney general. [Pols emphasis]

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?

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UPDATE: The Hill adds an update that’s not good for Ken Buck:

The spokesman for the D.C. Attorney General Office reiterated that AR-15s are prohibited in the city.

“It is illegal to possess an AR-15 in the District,” the spokesman said. [Pols emphasis]

Note the absence of the words “unless you’re a Republican.” Developing…

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gowdybuckgun

The Hill’s Tim Devaney reports, but you read it here first:

Two Republican congressmen who posed for a picture with an assault rifle are coming under scrutiny from the District of Columbia’s attorney general office.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) last week tweeted a picture of himself and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the leader of the House GOP’s Benghazi investigation, holding an AR-15…

Having the AR-15 in the Cannon House Office Building could be a violation of the District’s strict gun laws, and the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office is “looking into the matter,” a spokesman told The Hill.

According to The Hill, Rep. Ken Buck claims he obtained permission from the U.S. Capitol Police to display his very real AR-15 assault rifle in his office in the Cannon House Office Building. Our understanding is that may not wash with the D.C. attorney general, however, even if the bolt carrier assembly for the weapon has been removed as Buck claims. For one thing, firearms law is specific that the “lower receiver” section of a gun is what counts legally, and that’s still present. And regardless of what other parts are present, the 30-round magazine attached to the rifle is illegal in D.C. without exception.

It’s not like pushing the boundaries of gun laws is unheard of among gun-happy Republican lawmakers. Here in Colorado, an unknown but significant number of state legislators take advantage of an obscure loophole in the law to carry concealed weapons in the state capitol building–a building where everyone else has to check their iron and pass through metal detectors.

In this case, we suspect Buck may have pushed the boundaries a bit too far. Stay tuned for updates.

Kopel says Dudley Brown “lying right now in Congress”

(Hot red-on-red action! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dudley Brown.

Dudley Brown.

Last week, The Colorado Independent spotlighted Dave Kopel’s response to Dudley Brown, the director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, who’s been claiming Kopel is a weak supporter of the Second Amendment, specifically a sleeper cell for former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Here’s the take-away quote from Kopel, who works for the conservative Independence Institute, in which he calls out Brown for lying to Congress:

Kopel: That’s why [Brown] is lying right now in Congress against the NRA’s National Right to Carry bill, which would mean that you as a Colorado resident with you carry permit, you could carry in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and New York city.  [Kopel sent me this as the source for his statement.]

Kopel concluded his comments with this:

Kopel: So, there are two possible views of reality. One is Dudley is a liar, a huckster, and a hoax who is preying off people and taking their money, not for gun rights but to support himself.  The other possibility is that Dudley’s telling the truth and that I am a sleeper cell for Michael Bloomberg. You can decide which one is more plausible.

Here are Kopel’s full comments, as delivered on Colorado Public Television (Channel 12) Colorado Inside Out April 17:

Lynn [Bartels] nailed it at the end. It’s a “Fundraising  for Dudley” problem if the magazine ban is 99 percent repealed – to change it from 15 to 30 [rounds].

Dudley and his group have been around in Colorado as lobbyists since the late-90s. And yet, they have never passed a single bill. He’s also got his national group – so-called National Association for Gun Rights—which has never passed a single bill in Congress. An impressive record of futility, but only if you think of his group in the same way you’d think of real gun-rights groups like Gun Owners of America, or the National Rifle Association, or the Firearms Coalition of Colorado.

As Dudley explained to a meeting of friendly, recently-elected legislators a few weeks after the election, he said, ‘Don’t work with people like Kopel, because then when they pass something, it makes it harder for us to raise money.’ Dudley’s shtick is to keep people upset and angry and giving him money, and never to solve any problem. 

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Who Is Polling Laura Woods’ District?

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

We received word today of a live poll conducted this past weekend in Colorado Senate District 19, the highly competitive Jefferson County district currently represented by Sen. Laura Waters Woods. Back in February, we noted rumors that Republicans are looking for a primary opponent for Woods–or a replacement in the unlikely event she would agree to step aside–out of concern that she won’t be able to hold this pivotal seat against a strong Democratic challenger in 2016. We haven’t yet received audio of this weekend’s poll, but here’s a description we were forwarded:

It was a live survey and lasted between five and ten minutes. The first question was favorable/unfavorable regarding Sen. Woods. Answering unfavorable, the pollster then asked if the receipient could be persuaded to support a different Republican candidate [Pols emphasis] and ask what issues might be persuasive. No other candidates were mentioned by name.

The Woods questions were followed by issue questions about guns, abortion, TABOR, tax credits for the poor, and health care. Finally, the survey asked about support for Jeffco school board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams.

Democrats we’ve spoken to say their side is not responsible for this poll, and the questions as recounted to us–whether respondents would support a different Republican candidate–do not point to a Democratic source. We haven’t heard any names mentioned as potential Republican primary challengers for Sen. Woods, but we wouldn’t expect to hear about them until there’s enough data to persuade one to undertake the challenge.

And to obtain that, you need polling. Stay tuned, we don’t think GOP intentions in SD-19 will be a mystery for very long. As soon as we learn who exactly is shadowing this most contentious of 2016 state legislative races, we’ll update.

Ken Buck Poses With Illegal Assault Weapon?

Freshman Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado Tweeted this photo of himself yesterday:

gowdybuckgun

This is a photo of Rep. Buck with fellow Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina. The rifle they are holding is an AR-15 that Buck identifies as his own.

The problem? Assuming this photo was taken inside the boundaries of Washington, D.C., Ken Buck, the former district attorney of Weld County, Colorado, is now a lawbreaker. The AR-15 rifle is banned in the District of Columbia as an assault weapon, and gun magazines are limited to 10 rounds. As you can clearly see, Buck’s AR-15 (illegal in D.C.) is fitted with a 30-round magazine (illegal in D.C.). Under D.C.’s strict gun laws, weapons must also be registered–and obviously, you can’t do that if the weapon is already illegal to possess. All of these laws remain in effect even if your gun is painted with American flags.

Two years ago, NBC News’ David Gregory narrowly escaped prosecution in Washington, D.C., simply for bringing an unloaded 30 round magazine onto the set of his news broadcast. Short of a really good explanation we can’t think of right now–or, we suppose, the possibility this photo was taken across the Potomac in Virginia–we assume the D.C. Metropolitan Police will want to have a little chat with Rep. Buck about this.

All Hail Dudley Brown. Or Not.

kneelzod1UPDATE: More on the “failed coup attempt” from the Colorado Statesman.

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Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post has more today on the bizarre coup attempt from a handful of Republican legislators doing the desperate bidding of Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO).

As you read yesterday at Colorado Pols, Brown called into a conservative radio station to simultaneously complain and brag about Republicans pulling an unheard-of legislative maneuver on the House Floor. Bartels caught up with some GOP legislators yesterday, and they were not at all pleased with the kneeling:

The schism among conservatives over Colorado’s gun laws widened this week when four House Republicans formed a secret pact and pushed for a procedural move that exposes five members to potentially tough primaries in 2016.

“It was a clever idea, but it put some people in a very bad position,” said Rep. Don Coram, R-Montrose. “We’re going to be talking about this until the end of the session.”…

…Senate Bill 175 died Monday in a Democratic-controlled House committee, but four GOP representatives — Steve Humphrey of Severance, Justin Everett of Littleton, Kim Ransom of Douglas County and Patrick Neville of Castle Rock — hatched a plan to try to resurrect the failed effort to repeal the ammunition ban so that it could be debated on the House floor.

“We forced a recorded vote,” [Dudley] Brown said on 630 KHOW radio Thursday. “Five Republicans voted wrong and all five of them are suspect and in danger in the next primary.” [Pols emphasis]

Reps. Brian DelGrosso and Polly Lawrence: Republicans in Charge by Title Only

Republicans In Charge by Title Only: Reps. Brian DelGrosso and Polly Lawrence await Dudley Brown’s instructions.

As noted by the Post, 26 Republican legislators supported the failed procedural move, including House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso and Assistant Minority Leader Polly Lawrence. It would appear as though Rep. Lawrence was not a big fan of the strategy — even though she supported it — because she had no idea it was coming.

Lawrence said GOP leadership was blindsided.

“Some communication would have been nice,” she said. “What happened on the floor was unnecessary.”

For years Republicans have used the term “RINO” (Republicans In Name Only) to describe other Republicans who don’t act sufficiently Republican enough.

Maybe it’s time for a new acronym. May we suggest: RICTO (Republicans in Charge by Title Only).

 

Get More Smarter on Friday (April 17)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1Rain, or snow? Yes! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking a big step forward in urging the legislature to do more to deal with Colorado’s fiscal/TABOR woes. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle seem a bit confused at the timing of Hickenlooper’s “Fiscal Thicket” plan, given that only four weeks remain in the current legislative session.

► The U.S. Senate will hold a field hearing on the status of the VA Hospital project in Aurora next Friday. As Mark Matthews writes for the Denver Post:

A day after the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs ripped into the VA for its role in building a new Colorado hospital now expected to cost $1.73 billion — more than five times its original estimate — the Senate veterans’ affairs committee announced plans to hold a field hearing on the issue April 24 in Aurora.

Colorado Sens. and had urged their colleagues to visit the state to investigate the troubled project, which has been beset by delays, cost overruns, and legal battles.

Do we really need the Senate Committee on Veteran’s Affairs to come to Aurora to understand that the hospital project is a complete mess?

 
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On radio, RMGO’s Brown talks as if he owns the GOP Senate majority

(Doesn’t he? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Dudley Brown.

Dudley Brown.

Before she interviewed Dudley Brown, who spontaneously called her show this morning, KHOW 760-AM’s Mandy Connell told her listeners she had no opinion about Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which Brown directs.

After the interview, Connell, an arch conservative, said she had an opinion–and I’m guessing you will too if you listen below.

In this case, Brown talked as if he has more of a right to interfere in gun legislation at the state Capitol than the Independence Institute has because RMGO bought and paid for the state GOP Senate majority.  And he went on about it, implying he’d organize primaries against five Republicans who voted against a violation of state Senate rules yesterday.

Connell started the conversation, which was first reported by Complete Colorado, with a question about why RMGO was opposed to raising the limit on magazine capacity from 15 to 30 rounds.

Then she asked, “So, why take out Dave Kopel?  Why go after him?”

Brown: Well, look, I don’t want to go into personalities on a public format. Dave Kopel is a wonderful writer. On strategy, he’s horrid! Dave Kopel is actually a Democrat. He has always advocated for compromise at every single turn. Every time we’ve ever had a gun bill in Colorado, he’s always advocated for compromise. And in fact, Dave Kopel is the one who fixed the Democrats mag ban so it did not include shotguns. He showed Senator Mary Hodge how to do it, mechanically. Probably being the one who enabled it to pass. Now, I have no qualms about being honest. But in politics, I don’t want it to be about personality. I want it to be about principle and strategy.

But, in all honesty, we simply don’t agree with Dave Kopel and never have, and for that matter, the Independence Institute, none of whom got these legislators into office.

It’s our organization and our PAC that spent the money to elect the legislature and take the Senate from the Democrats. We were the biggest funders of Republican candidates in the last election. Far bigger than the NRA. And let me be clear, I don’t know if this is – you could ask them, but my understanding is even the NRA opposes this compromise. Now, if the NRA opposes a compromise because it’s too squishy on the gun issue, that pretty much means that it’s as far left as it can be because the NRA usually buys into every compromise. In this case, my understanding is that they opposed it, too. Look there aren’t the votes to pass a 31 round ban –the repeal of the 30 ban, to make it 31. But there aren’t the votes for repeal, unless the Republicans take the House and the Governor’s mansion, neither of which are assured…

Now, to those people who say, “Wait a minute!  I want to be able to buy my 30 round magazine!”  I say, “Shut your pie hole and go buy one!”  There are many retailers who sell them right now.  They ignore the law, and God Bless them for doing so. And in many cases, your District Attorney and your sheriff won’t be involved in any cases against you, anyway…

Connell said, “You’re saying, ‘Go break the law.’”

Brown: I’m saying, “Do what you want.” But, the fact is, the ban, really — it’s like jaywalking. There really is no ban, right now. It’s largely a ban on some of the businesses who manufacture and didn’t want to be here, anyway.

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