“Maybe a Good Thing That He Had a 100-Round Magazine”

THURSDAY UPDATE: Audio of Tom Sullivan's (father of Aurora shooting victim Alex Sullivan) response to Sen. Bernie Herpin's remarks in testimony now available below.

From every indication that I have, the pictures, and the reports that I've received from the DA, it says that 76 bullets came out of that magazine. [Pols emphasis]

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Sen. Bernie Herpin (R).

Sen. Bernie Herpin (R).

Today's "just wow" moment in the Colorado Senate is brought to you by freshman Sen. Bernie Herpin (R-Recall), as reported by FOX 31's Eli Stokols this afternoon:

Republican state Sen. Bernie Herpin raised the ire of an Aurora theater shooting victim’s father when he claimed that it might have been “a good thing” that gunman James Holmes had a 100-round magazine when he opened fire and, ultimately, killed 12 people…

“My understanding is that James Holmes bought his 100-round capacity magazine legally,” said Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver. “So in fact, this law would have stopped James Holmes from purchasing a 100-round magazine.

“I was wondering if you agree with me.”

“Perhaps, James Holmes would not have been able to purchase a 100-round magazine,” Herpin responded.

“As it turned out, that was maybe a good thing that he had a 100-round magazine, because it jammed. If he had four, five, six 15-round magazines, there’s no telling how much damage he could have done until a good guy with a gun showed up.”

Just a couple of points to add, since this horrifyingly tortured logic doesn't really merit anything you'd call "analysis." Herpin was trying to make a point, not wholly inaccurate, that some of the cheaper civilian-grade high capacity drum magazines aren't very reliable. The drum magazine used by the Aurora shooter in fact did jam his assault rifle–after numerous fatal shots. But the idea that anyone would count on product defects to protect the public in an actual shooting is, of course, ludicrous beyond words. Also, we are obliged to note that in the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings, the Colorado-made Magpul high capacity magazines did not jam.

Tom Sullivan, father of Aurora shooting victim Alex Sullivan and who was present for today's hearing, said this afterward:

“The lack of empathy and compassion is shocking,” he said. “Not just to me and my family, but to all of the families who have lost loved ones to gun violence and to all the people of Colorado. But this is what he truly believes.

“And to think this is the person who they brought in to replace John Morse.” [Pols emphasis]

Without a doubt, Herpin delivered a huge political gift to Democrats today, betraying an ignorance and aloofness to suffering that frankly voters wouldn't believe if there wasn't recorded proof it had happened. This is a hit not just on Bernie Herpin, but the entire Republican 2014 "comeback" strategy that revolves around keeping the momentum from last year's recalls at full tilt through November. Cracks in that strategy had already appeared as gun rights supporters failed to pack committee hearings for the repeal bills.

And now, folks? Who will justify this madness?

Another Gun Lobby Fail: Armed Teacher Bill Fizzles

Moms Demand Action event at the Capitol yesterday.

Moms Demand Action event at the Capitol yesterday.

AP's Kristen Wyatt reports on action yesterday in the Colorado House Judiciary Committee:

A Democratic House Judiciary Committee voted 7-4 to reject another Republican bill to expand gun rights. The bill would have allowed school districts to decide if they wanted to let teachers, not just designated school resource officers, carry concealed weapons…

Supporters of the idea were far outnumbered by teachers and students who packed the hearing to speak against the idea. [Pols emphasis]

"There's no reason for teachers to have guns in school when we're trying to keep guns out of schools in the first place," said Karina Vargas, who was paralyzed in 2010 from a shooting outside Aurora Central High.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols:

Gun control advocates, who want fewer firearms in schools, not more, again packed the hearing room at the Capitol Tuesday, intent on demonstrating strength — and staunch opposition to the proposal to allow willing teachers and school staffers to serve as a first line of defense in the instance of a school shooting.

“We have officers who are trained in responding to these incidents, and now we’re adding to that people who don’t have that training,” said Michael Eaton, the chief of security for Denver Public Schools…

After all the supporters of the proposal had finished testifying, the committee continued to hear from the bill’s opponents for another two hours as gun control advocates — even knowing the committee’s vote was likely to go their way — pressed their points. [Pols emphasis]

Empty seats at hearing for House Bill 1157 yesterday.

Empty seats at hearing for House Bill 1157 yesterday.

​At this point, quite a number of Republican proposals to repeal the gun safety legislation passed in the 2013 session of the Colorado General Assembly have been heard, but despite calls by the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and other groups for protests and mass testimony, nothing like the pandemonium seen at the Capitol last year has materialized. Despite excuses now being made, this does not appear to have been the intention of the gun lobby, who urged their supporters to turn out in large numbers or risk "emboldening the left." 

It doesn't matter if gun rights supporters now consider their protests "futile" in the face of Democratic control of the legislature–this is an election year, and the failure to hold together the angry momentum they worked so hard to cultivate in 2013 is a major turnaround that will hurt Republicans this November. That failure is already evident in polling that shows public support has actually grown in Colorado for universal background checks and the magazine limit law, even as the gun lobby assailed them 24/7.

As for this particular piece of legislation, allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, it's been suggested to us that the whole emotional push by Republicans for this bill in the wake of last December's shooting at Arapahoe High School may have been a misguided waste of everyone's time. In 2003, the GOP-controlled Colorado legislature passed the Concealed Carry Act of 2003. This legislation, signed into law by Republican Gov. Bill Owens, appears to allow school districts to designate anyone they wish as a "security officer" (not an official title that requires any training, mind you), and the law specifically allows persons so designated to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.

A permittee who is employed or retained by contract by a school district as a school security officer may carry a concealed handgun onto the real property, or into any improvement erected thereon, of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school while the permittee is on duty;

As we understand it, this 2003 law allows school districts to designate "security officers" who can carry concealed weapons. And if they really wanted, there's no reason why that couldn't be teachers. Note that we're not making a judgment about the efficacy of arming teachers, which as you can read above, far more witnesses turned out to testify against than in favor of. What we're saying is, it appears that yesterday's debate over arming teachers, in addition to being emotionally manipulative so soon after the Arapahoe High School shooting, was superfluous.

And that kind of puts the proverbial cherry on top of their failure.

Reminder: Magpul Played Everybody Like a Fiddle

magpulheadline

As reported by the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle's Becky Orr Friday, and apropos today with a bill to repeal Colorado's magazine limit law up for certain death debate in the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee:

The Wyoming State Loan and Investment Board approved a $13 million grant Thursday to help a company that makes magazines and other gun accessories move to Cheyenne.

The board voted 4-1 in favor of the grant to help recruit Magpul Industries, a company based in Erie, Colo. SLIB is made up of the top five elected officials in Wyoming…

The company is expected to be in temporary quarters in Cheyenne as early as this summer. The business will remain there while a new building is built.

The state and local investment in the relocation effort will reach about $17 million over 20 years. The return to the public is estimated at about $20 million.

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

Last Thursday, the Colorado Independent's Shelby Kinney-Lang published an in-depth look at Erie-based ammunition magazine maker Magpul's impending move to Cheyenne, and the millions in taxpayer-funded financial incentives they'll receive to do so–and as we've discussed in detail, how that move appears to have been in the offing long before Colorado passed any law limiting gun magazine capacity.

Magpul announced last month that it would be moving its manufacturing to Wyoming and headquarters to Texas, and it is now clear that financial considerations unsurprisingly dominated negotiations around the move.

Yet the expansion plan itself and the company’s financial bargaining never made news in all of the reporting around Magpul last spring during the gun-law debates at the capitol. The main narrative spinning around Magpul at the time was that the company would move as a political statement. As the conservative Colorado Observer put it, Magpul executives “announced they would leave in reaction to the Democratic state legislature’s passage of gun-control bills.”

But Wyoming and Texas offered financial incentives to Magpul in 2012, when the company began exploring how best to realize its expansion plans and long before the gun measures had even been introduced…

Magpul’s January press release announcing its plan to move to Wyoming and Texas seemed to suggest that 92 percent of its Colorado workforce would join the company outside the state. But Magpul’s Duane Liptak told the Denver Post that wasn’t the case, that most of the company’s employees would be left behind in Erie. Liptak did not respond to the Independent’s requests for clarification, though a story about Magpul in the [Casper] Star-Tribune states that “some” unknown number of employees will move with the company and that 184 positions will be available in Wyoming. A more recent AP story says Magpul will bring “90 new jobs” to Cheyenne.

We do expect that executives from Magpul will testify at today's hearing, and that the example of their leaving Colorado–expressed in plaintive terms as "jobs lost"–will be frequently invoked as a reason a central magazine limit law should be repealed. But as we've tried diligently to ensure our readers understand, there's much more to this story–from Colorado employees who may or may not move/commute to Cheyenne, to the millions of dollars Magpul was shopping other states for before Colorado's magazine limit law was ever introduced.

Debate the efficacy of the law all you want, but don't misrepresent what happened here.

This Week: Get Ready For Magazine Ban Mayhem, Maybe

Magpul PMAG and Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

Magpul PMAG and Bushmaster AR-15 rifle used at the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting.

​ AP's Ivan Moreno reports via the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Gun-rights advocates who want to see a repeal of Colorado's limits on the size of ammunition magazines realize their chances are slim when they go before Democrat-controlled committees next week…

Holbert's repeal attempt is scheduled to be heard by a House committee Monday, and a separate but identical proposal in the Senate is expected to have a committee hearing there Wednesday.

The magazine restrictions were among a handful of gun-related laws that Democrats passed in the aftermath of mass shootings in a suburban Denver movie theater and Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School. One of those laws expanded background checks to private and online firearm sales.

A Republican attempt to undo that law has already failed.

Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora, who sponsored the magazine limits and the expansion of background checks, said she believes Colorado residents support the measures, and that they'll come out in big numbers to testify against repeal efforts.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll of Colorado residents, out last week, shows once again that the strongest public support among the different gun safety bills passed by the Colorado General Assembly in 2013 is for requiring background checks for all sales of guns including private sales. While support for universal background checks on guns is at no-brainer upper 80th percentile levels, the question of limits on the capacity of gun magazines is much more divisive. The latest Quinnipiac poll is in fact the first polling we've seen in Colorado showing support for Colorado's new magazine limit law at 50%, with 47% opposed. It's notable that support for this law has grown slightly, perhaps more importantly not declined, even as the gun lobby raged against it all last year.

As we indicated at the time, the committee fight over repealing last year's universal background check law, House Bill 13-1229, was anticlimactic in comparison to last year's huge mobs of opponents who flooded hearings and circled the Capitol laying on their car horns. In the Senate State Affairs Committee's hearing on the Senate background check repeal bill, many more witnesses appeared to testify in favor of background checks than against. If Republicans are going to make an election-year stand anywhere to placate the gun lobby and the issue's vocal "grassroots," the magazine limit is the place. It bears repeating–much of the anger over Democrats' "gun control agenda" last year was the product of either outright misinformation, or so-called "flanking bills" like the assault weapons liability measure that were ultimately killed. In retrospect, the flanking bill strategy was probably a bad idea, as it gave opponents fuel even after those more onerous bills were killed. But that debate is over.

The magazine limit law is, as we've been forced to spend a lot of time on in this space, a major point of public misinformation. We believe that if the media had gotten this story anywhere close to right after the passage of House Bill 13-1224, support for the new law would be considerably higher than polls suggest today. Democrats should use these hearings as an opportunity to demonstrate how basic facts have been misrepresented in the local press and by the gun lobby, every bit as egregiously as Victor Head unwittingly confessed to last week.

Hopefully, we won't learn that "removable baseplates" got him lots of signatures.

Dudley Brown radio interview puts claims of GOP maturity in perspective

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Reporters don't always offer differing views in trivial news stories about a speech or a minor partisan event. It's nice, but you don't expect it, like you would in more significant stories.

Such was the case in yesterday's one-sided Denver Post article about a speech by Republican operatives saying the next two elections will be good for Republicans like them. A surprising claim coming from Republican operatives, but not surprising in a story headlined, "Republican analysts optimistic about future of party."

Nancy Dwight, former executive director of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, was quoted thusly:

"There has been a maturation in the Republican party since 2012, that we need to win," Dwight argued, but said to win races going forward the party needed "to represent the 50 plus percent of the country who are concerned about growth in the private sector and agree that there should be limited centralized government."

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The Pueblo Chieftain Crosses The Line…Again

SATURDAY UPDATE: The Chieftain's Peter Roper attempts to correct the record in a new story today:

Colorado’s new law on background checks on individual gun sales allows family members to loan each other guns for unlimited periods, the legal staff for Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday.

A news story about a Colorado Senate committee meeting earlier this week mistakenly reported those indefinite loans were not allowed.

The reporter made the mistake based on inaccurate information given in interviews.

Roper claims that former Sen. Angela Giron "confirmed" Victor Head's false claim that House Bill 13-1229 prevented indefinite loans of guns between immediate family members. Whatever may have happened there, there is only one "confirmation" that matters, and only one that Roper should have relied on–the unambiguous language of the bill itself. We don't accept that as an excuse for yet another instance of blatantly false reporting from the Pueblo Chieftain, but we do appreciate the correction–and we sincerely hope this lie doesn't get repeated ever again.

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UPDATE #2: Media Matters for America rips the Chieftain's false reporting:

More than six months after two Colorado state senators were recalled over their support for stronger gun safety legislation, Colorado newspaper The Pueblo Chieftain continues to push false information to defend supporters of the recall.

Controversy in Colorado has erupted over the February 3 testimony of primary recall organizer Victor Head before the Colorado Senate State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee. In calling for the repeal of a 2013 law that created a requirement for background checks on most gun sales, Head testified that he gathered recall petition signatures by telling people that the background check law would prohibit firearms loans between immediate family members for longer than 72 hours without a background check.

In fact, Colorado's background check law allows "a bona fide gift or loan" without a background check "between immediate family members, which are limited to spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, first cousins, aunts, and uncles" with no time limit. State Democratic Sen. Angela Giron — one of the two senators targeted by Head for recall — was responsible for authoring this family exemption.

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UPDATE: A statement from the Colorado Senate Majority Office attempts to set the record straight:

Misinformation has been shared this week, by a member of the public and in a news report, regarding the 2013 law (HB 13-1229) requiring background checks for private gun transfers. To clarify, when a gun is given as a bona fide gift or indefinite loan to immediate family members, a background check is NOT required. The 72-hour limitation on loans applies to anyone who is not an immediate family member as defined in the law. [Pols emphasis]

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Pueblo Recall Organizer Admits Lying To Petition Signers

Victor Head.

Victor Head.

​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.

Oops.

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.

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Democrats Stand Their Ground On Background Checks

Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy,

Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy, “Crazy Gun Barney” Fife.

​FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on yesterday's all-day debate in the Colorado Senate State Affairs committee over Senate Bill 14-094, Sen. George Rivera's (R-Recall) bill to repeal last year's universal background check law for gun purchases:

Republicans, having gained two senate seats last fall from recall elections sparked by a backlash to the Democratic gun bills, are pushing several bills this year ostensibly aimed at repealing the laws enacted last year and keeping the issue front and center heading into this fall’s election, a more attainable goal.

Democrats, now holding just a one-seat majority in the state senate, sought to improve the legislative process this time around, allowing several hours for everyone in the chamber to testify on the record after complaints about last year, when Democrats scheduled all seven gun bills in two committees on the same day.

And a year after watching GOP opponents dominate debate on these bills, Democrats vigorously defended the policy itself, aggressively cross-examining Republicans looking to scrap the new law and offering a number of statistics to demonstrate that background checks on private sales are working.

“Over 100 criminals and other dangerous persons have been denied the purchase of guns in private sales,” said Eileen McCarron, the director of Colorado Ceasefire, at a press conference before Senate Bill 94 was heard by the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee.

Last year, Senate leadership scheduled all seven of the principal gun safety bills under consideration for debate all on a single day, March 4th. This resulted in an enormous crush of witnesses waiting to testify against the bills, marshaled to the Capitol by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and other pro-gun groups. Outside, more pro-gun protesters circled the building honking their horns continuously. We can't say in hindsight that jamming all of these bills into a single day's calendar was a good idea. In addition to inflaming passions in the crowd of "witnesses" set to testify, that decision gave Republicans a process-based rallying cry which allowed them to reach conservative voters who aren't as passionate about guns.

And folks, the throngs of angry, ignorant Joe Six-Packs really don't add much to the debate. Lawmakers can't say it, of course, but we will. Listening to a dozen (or hundred) gratingly inarticulate citizens recite the same fact-challenged or logically fallacious arguments from the same emailed script does, to put it charitably, very little to illuminate a discussion. If you have nothing meaningful to add, it's a waste of everyone's time.

Interestingly, however, by the end of yesterday's long hearing, pro-gun testimony wasn't even the majority.

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Background Check Repeal Hearing Monday

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Audio of the hearing here:
http://coloradoga.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=5

MONDAY POLS UPDATE: A statement from Rep. Rhonda Fields today via Stand Strong Colorado:

State Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) welcomed representatives from Stand Strong Colorado to the Capitol today in support of the common sense gun laws passed in the 2013 legislative session. She thanked supporters for standing strong in support of the bill she carried to expand background checks to private gun sales.

Rep. Fields took aim at the blatant fear-mongering and lies advanced by the gun lobby. “They’re saying we’re banning private gun sales. That’s a lie,” she said. “Since the 2013 law went into effect more than 6,000 private gun sales have gone through the CBI. 98 percent of those sales went through without a hitch. Those are the facts. They’re saying we’re limiting gun transfers among family members. That’s a lie. The 2013 law explicitly says a gun owner may give a gun or loan a gun to a family member.  Those are the facts.”

We'll update with coverage from today's hearing in the Senate State Affairs Committee. Original post follows.

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Senator George Rivera, having bungled the first rollout of his background check repeal bill SB 14-094 by not meeting the deadline, is trying again Monday, and is hoping that this time, the law will make it out of Committee.  

 The bill is not likely to make it out of the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee, often known as the “kill committee”. Megan Schrader reported in the Gazette that advocates for and against repeal of the background check law will be testifying tomorrow, February 3, at 1:30 PM in SB room 353. Senate President Morgan Carroll has pledged to allow everyone who shows up at committee hearings to testify.

Therefore, the Capitol is likely to be a nonstop media circus tomorrow. Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is  activating its base to testify for Rivera’s bill. RMGO’s Facebook page pleads:

It’s very important that gun owners turn out for the hearing in large numbers. If gun owners don’t show up, it will only embolden the left.

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Bill Cadman: “I Know a Lot of Clergy Who Carry [Guns]“

Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman

Sen. Minority Leader Bill Cadman says he knows a lot of religious leaders who carry guns.

Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reports on a mish-mash of gun legislation being put forth by Republicans in the state legislature, including one particularly odd quote from Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman that deserves some follow-up questions of its own:

Black and Phillips joined with 10 other clergy members at the Capitol, but Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, who led the fight against last year's gun bills, said those clergy are not representative of all faith leaders in the state.

"I know a lot of clergy who carry," the Colorado Springs Republican said [Pols emphasis].

We're not sure what to think about Sen. Cadman's claim that he "knows a lot of clergy who carry," other than to guess that he's seen a few too many Quentin Tarantino movies.

What is Cadman's definition of "a lot"? How many places of worship is Cadman aware of in which the clergy are packing guns under their robes?

If there is any truth to Cadman's claim that "a lot" of clergy are indeed carrying guns around, then Cadman has just inadvertently made a strong argument for gun control. If clergy members feel threatened enough to carry guns, then maybe we should start paying more attention to those underlying fears and problems instead of promoting legislation that would only increase the number of firearms being toted around Colorado.

Mark Udall’s Son Arrested

This just in from the Boulder Daily Camera:

Jed Udall, the 26-year-old son of Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, was arrested Wednesday after Boulder County sheriff's deputies say he broke into three cars in Eldorado Springs and was found with heroin in his pocket…

"Maggie and I are deeply distressed to learn of our son's arrest," Sen. Mark Udall said in a statement to the Daily Camera. "We love our son and stand with him in his commitment to getting the treatment he needs. We appreciate the private space to deal with this as a family."

Not much else you can expect Sen. Mark Udall to say, but in the present acrimonious political climate it's a safe bet that Udall's opponents will try to use this against him politically in some fashion. We'll update this story as warranted.

Lang Sias, Laura Woods “Tea” Up For SD-19 GOP Primary

Earlier this week, Republican Lang Sias announced his intentions to run again in Colorado Senate District 19 this year against recently-appointed Sen. Rachel Zenzinger. Sias has made several unsuccessful attempts at elected office in Colorado in recent years, including a failed bid for the 2010 CD-7 nomination (won by Ryan Frazier), and in 2012, a hard-fought loss in SD-19 to then-Sen. Evie Hudak. Sias lost by a relatively small margin in 2012, only 584 votes, in a race that saw thousands of conservative votes "wasted" on a third-party candidate. Sias' bad luck running for office has been compounded by gaffes, such as his "Tea Party Endorsed" signage from 2010 which had the "Tea Party Endorsed" part Photoshopped out for 2012–an incident that made national cable news.

Laura Woods.

Laura Woods.

Perhaps as a result, it appears that Sias won't have a clean shot at the SD-19 GOP nomination in 2014. Already running in this district is Laura Woods, one of the principal organizers of the recall petition drive against Sen. Hudak last year. Woods reportedly has amassed quite a bit of grassroots and gun-rights activist support from her work on the Hudak recall, and there's no reason as of yet to think she plans to get out of Sias' way. Republicans do consider SD-19 a pickup opportunity this year, but it's expected to be a tight enough race to make any uncertainty problematic.

Which of these Republicans would be the better challenger to SD-19's likable new Democratic incumbent, former Arvada councilor Zenzinger? They'll only get one shot, so Republicans had better choose wisely.

UPDATE: Castle Rock Town Commisioners in uproar over Open Carry

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

(UPDATERocky Mountain Gun Owners in the mix – seems they want to guarantee Castle Rock's crime rate increases. See below for Post's reference to CR's crimes stats.)

Quaint little Castle Rock just had to be turned into another battle ground in the NRA's fight to arm everyone, everywhere, right?

Many, if not all, of the planning commissioners for the town of Castle Rock, Colorado may quit their jobs after the town council voted on Tuesday to allow guns to be openly carried in public buildings and parks.

Last week, Castle Rock Planning Commission acting chair Michael Fronczak notified the town clerk’s office that “many on the Commission have expressed that they would feel unsafe serving as a Commissioner if open carry were permitted.”

It is likely that many, if not all, members of the Planning Commission would resign because of the increased possibility for intimidation and/or violence,” Fronczak wrote.

A survey of town employees found that about 95 percent did not want the ban repealed, and on Sept. 5, Castle Rock’s public safety commission voted to recommend against repeal.

However, the council moved forward with plans for repeal. After a heated hearing on Tuesday night, the council voted 4-3 in favor of repealing the open-carry ban.

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Even More Data Shows Gun Background Checks Working

UPDATE: In maximum fairness, we should note one important item from the Post's Ryan Parker in his story Tuesday:

Officials and experts on both sides of the gun-control debate [Pols emphasis] said the big numbers were not surprising and that the data are proof the system, with the addition of new legislation, works.

It's tough to imagine Dave Kopel ever saying such a thing, but there you have it, folks. Original post follows.

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guns

Huffington Post's Matt Ferner reported yesterday, we hope readers are paying attention:

In 2013, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations processed a total of 396,955 background checks, the highest number of checks in state history. It was an increase of more than 50,000 from 343,302 checks in 2012, which was also a record year for gun sales.

A total of 7,351 applications for both private and retail sales were denied in 2013, at a rate of 1.85 percent. The denial rate in 2012 was 2.14 percent. The most common reasons for denial varied: 1,412 were due to an arrest or conviction of assault; 381 because the applicant had a restraining order against them; 166 for arrest or conviction of sexual assault; and 41 were because of a homicide conviction, and arrests or convictions for other crimes. There were a total of 6,198 private sale background checks from July through December, with 122 of those denied during that period.

"The vast majority of gun buyers are law-abiding people, and for them a background check is no problem," said Rep. Rhonda Fields, cosponsor of the background check law, to The Huffington Post. "But the new law is preventing significant numbers of violent criminals and people under domestic restraining orders from buying guns. That's exactly what we intended with our new background check law, and the stats prove that it's working. It's making our neighborhoods safer, and that makes me very happy."

Yesterday's Huffington Post story recounts data first reported by the Denver Post's Ryan Parker on Tuesday. It's unfortunate for Democrats that the success of House Bill 13-1229, last year's bill requiring background checks on most gun sales including private sales, isn't getting more press coverage. And in the case of the Post's Ryan Parker, we're sorry to report he still can't write a story about Colorado's new gun laws without major misrepresentation:

A Second Amendment expert said he was not surprised by the numbers, as threats of gun control boost gun sales.

"The people of Colorado consider their Second Amendment rights to be important, not only in theory, but also important to exercise in their personal lives," said Dave Kopel, an Independence Institute researcher, University of Denver law school professor and author of a law-school textbook on firearms law and policy.

Nowhere in this story does Parker disclose that Dave Kopel is in fact the lead attorney in the lawsuit against these bills, even though Parker does mention the lawsuit! By any objective standard of journalistic integrity, that's a huge problem. Far from a disinterested academic, Kopel's organization, the Independence Institute, raised an untold amount of money off that lawsuit. In response to Kopel's boilerplate about Coloradans loving their guns, Democrats have a Quinnipiac University poll from last November showing that fully 85% of voters support universal background checks. If Parker has room for this disingenuous quote from one of the new law's principal foes–whose identity as the attorney suing to stop the laws Parker fails to disclose–why the hell can't hard polling data on the issue ever make it into one of these ridiculously one-sided stories?

We just answered our own question, didn't we? What we have in Colorado's landmark universal background checks law is a policy that is working, and that is overwhelmingly supported by the voters of this state. The only people who seem to not understand this are the gun lobby's willing agents, and local media who seem inexplicably determined to run interference against the facts.

Folks, we'll say it again: the public deserves better than this.

About That Broncos Game Gun Protest…

Photos emailed to us from yesterday's Gun Rights Across America protest at the state capitol in Denver, which occurred just before yesterday's AFC Championship game between the Denver Broncos and the New England Patriots, would seem to reinforce the idea that the timing of this event was less than ideal.

gunprotest1

gunprotest2

In response to a brief Denver Post blog post mentioning the rally's difficult timing, the national Gun Rights Across America organization responded indignantly–where are your priorities, Denver?

Dear Denver Post:

Since you feel that football is more important than standing up for our nations rights, we truly hope your Broncos get their asses kicked. [Pols emphasis]

Sincerely,

GRAA

P.S. We're still coming. See y'all in a few hours.

In maximum fairness to the organizers of yesterday's protest, there is one photo on their Facebook page in which we were perhaps able to make out fifty people in attendance. Organizers estimate 200, but there is simply no evidence to support anything near that count. And in a Facebook post today, GRAA-Colorado lashes out at their "supporters" for the poor attendance:

Paleaseee, quit sending me messages about the rally was not advertised enough or that it was not scheduled properly. This has been in the works for almost a year. Im tired of your excuses when we all know your decision was to watch the football game over your gun rights. If it makes feel good about your decision quit whining to us that you did not attend because it was scheduled wrong. I have been attacked for over a week by my so called patriot gun owning brothers on here and id like you to quit whining now. The true patriots were at the rally standing up for their rights. And dont while about your politicians anymore, they were there yesterday also speaking. As far as I Am concerned if you werent sick, at work, etc, i dont want to hear yiur excuses anymore about your gun rights…

Better luck next time, we guess. Also, the Broncos are headed to the Super Bowl.