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.



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.



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]



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.

Tancredo says Republicans “will not beat Hickenlooper” on gun issues

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

On KNUS radio this morning, host Dan Caplis said it was "legitimate" for Sen. Greg Brophy to spotlight Tom Tancredo's post-Columbine vote for a House resolution limiting, among other things, the size of magazines to 10 rounds or fewer, the same limitation put on magazines by one of Colorado's new gun-safety laws.

In response, Tancredo, who's battling Brophy for the chance to take on Gov. John Hickenlooper in November, downplayed the importance of the gun-safety issues in the upcoming general election, saying, "We are not going to win an election on this."

Here's part of Tanc's response, as heard on KNUS:

Tancredo: "I'll tell you that if, indeed, anybody believes that the Republican nominee, whoever that might be, can win the general election on this [gun] issue, or a couple of others that are fairly focused, they're wrong. We will not beat Hickenlooper, I don't care who it is, we will not beat Hickenlooper on this issue… We are not going to win an election on this. …

The NRA has always supported me. These things are essentially frivolous attacks that do not help in the long run. And as I say, I do not agree with you that this is something that the other side will use. Do you really believe that Hickenlooper would be attacking me for being soft on guns?"

Caplis: I think it would come up. And I think you'd handle it well…. Here's how I would definitely see it coming up in the campaign. You're running against Hickenlooper. You're the nominee. You're bashing him…he tried to restrict Coloradans' gun rights. And then Hickenlooper turns around with their 527s… 'Wait a second. Tom agrees with Hickelooper on this.'

Listen to Tancredo on Caplis saying GOP won't beat Hick on Guns

Bill Cadman Freaks Out, Threatens Recall In Error Over Rules

WEDNESDAY UPDATE #3: Here's the video of what we can only describe as a rambling and not very apologetic Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman this morning, addressing his wrongheaded outburst yesterday against Senate President Morgan Carroll:

We're not sure what he's trying to say, but based on what we already know (below), it's fairly ridiculous. This is when most well-adjusted adults admit they were wrong, apologize and move on. But not Sen. Cadman. And not this election year.


WEDNESDAY UPDATE #2: Cadman delivers a quasi-apology bizarre, rambling non-apology this morning, developing:


WEDNESDAY UPDATE: The Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby:

Cadman caught just about everyone off-guard Tuesday when he went to the microphone in the Senate and spent more than 10 minutes haranguing Carroll and Heath for delaying the bill without telling him or Rivera that they planned to do so. Under Senate rules, however, the majority party has the right to schedule bills whenever they want [Pols emphasis] as long as they allow at least one official vote before the session ends in May.


UPDATE #2: The Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader:

"Had I known that she would have done this, I would not have seconded her," Cadman said, referring to making a second motion to elect Carroll as president of the Senate on opening day of the session last week.

He even speculated some might start a recall effort in Carroll's district.

But as heated as the issue became Tuesday, the move to waive deadlines on Rivera's bill appears benign. [Pols emphasis]

Carroll said they always had every intention of introducing Rivera's bill and assigning a bill number to it, but simply wanted the flexibility to assign it to committee when there would be time to listen to what is sure to be a crush of public comment on the subject.


UPDATE: We were just forwarded the scanned document you see immediately below from Senate Majority staff. This is being presented to us as incontrovertible evidence that Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman was wrong today in attacking Senate President Morgan Carroll over the introduction of a GOP bill to repeal last year's universal background check legislation.

billdeadlinesAt the top of the paper, highlighted for clarity by Senate staff, you can see two handwritten dates. These were reportedly written by nonpartisan legislative staffers. On the left is the deadline for submission by Senate majority staffers to the Senate Secretary–today at 1PM. At right is the corresponding deadline for the bill to be introduced on the Senate floor. As you can see, that deadline is tomorrow.

Presuming the validity of this document, and we have no reason not to, Cadman owes President Carroll a very humble apology. Right after that, he should explain to the House GOP, state Republican party, and all the blogs and right wing "news sites" running away with this story what really happened today.

Fat chance, we know.


Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on fireworks today in the Colorado Senate: it seems last Wednesday's spirit of "bipartisanship" couldn't even make it one week.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, lashed out at Senate President Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, accusing Democrats of purposefully delaying the introduction of legislation aiming to overturn the law passed last year expanding background checks to private gun sales and transfers…

“It ought to be an outrage. Maybe they’ll start a recall. [Pols emphasis] Because, frankly, if you’re willing to ignore the rules, you shouldn’t be enforcing them.”

We'll be curious to see if this principle gets invoked by Republicans on Colorado sheriffs ignoring laws they don't like. In this case, however, the problem, as Senate President Morgan Carroll responds, is that Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman's allegations simply aren't true:

Following Cadman’s press conference, Carroll told reporters that the legislation would be introduced by 1 p.m. Tuesday, which Democrats believed to be the deadline all along.

As of 1 p.m., the bill had been handed over to the Secretary of the Senate and will be officially introduced and assigned to a committee on Wednesday, according to Senate Democrats.

“Every bill’s going to get a full hearing, everyone’s going to get a chance to testify; we’ve done everything within the rules,” said Carroll, who told reporters she was surprised by Cadman’s “rant”.



Brophy Continues to Fire Away at Fellow Republicans


Sen. Greg Brophy, ready to cripple fellow Republicans running for Governor.

State Sen. Greg Brophy probably never had much of a chance at becoming Colorado's next Governor, particularly after a brutally bad Q3 fundraising quarter, but that hasn't stopped him from taking every opportunity to kneecap other GOP candidates. Yesterday he went after Tom Tancredo for a gun safety vote that occurred in Congress shortly after the Columbine shooting. This won't help Brophy make it much closer to the top of the field, but it could cause some serious damage to Tancredo's campaign.

From FOX 31:

Brophy attacked Tancredo Monday over a 1999 vote by the former congressman who supported legislation to restrict the sale, transfer, importation and possession of assault rifles and magazines with higher than a 10-round capacity, a measure that is, at least generally, comparable to the ban approved by Colorado Democrats last year that outlaws magazines of more than 15 rounds.

“To a lot of people, this is the seminal issue,” Brophy told FOX31 Denver. “Tancredo’s record on gun control is actually worse than John Hickenlooper’s.”

Brophy is highlighting Tancredo’s support for House Resolution 2122 back on June 18, 1999, just two months after the horrific shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, in Tancredo’s congressional district and just blocks from the lawmaker’s home.

In a New York Times article published three days after the vote, Tancredo explained why he supported the legislation, making him the only member of Congress from Colorado to do so (the legislation died, with Republicans arguing that the restrictions went too far and Democrats that they didn’t go far enough).

In response to a question from reporter James Brooke, who asked “what made the difference?”, Tancredo replied: ”Twelve dead children, one dead adult, 24 injured kids and a community that has had its heart broken — that made the difference.”

Ironically, this is the kind of story that would probably help Tancredo in a General Election if he hadn't already decided to be "Captain 2nd Amendment" in the Republican Primary. This also highlights the problem of gun safety for Republicans in a Primary — any perceived weakness on 2nd Amendment issues will be a problem for someone trying to win the GOP nomination.

As for Brophy, he's spent so much time lately trying to tear down Tancredo and Scott Gessler that it's starting to look like he's really running in order to block for someone else — Mike Kopp, perhaps?

Gun Protest Or AFC Championship? Easy Call

A flyer now circulating for a protest to be held on the steps of the Colorado Capitol this Sunday at high noon:


According to Gun Rights Across America's Facebook page, Sunday's rally is set to be attended by a slew of 2014 Republican political candidates, including Sens. Greg Brophy and Owen Hill, Ken Buck, Tom Tancredo, and many others.

But then the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee took note of a big and kind of obvious problem:

As every Colorado resident not living under a rock knows, the Denver Broncos are in the NFL playoffs, and Sunday at 1PM they'll kick off the AFC championship game at Mile High Stadium against the New England Patriots. Now presumably, of course, this rally was scheduled well in advance of the Broncos making the playoffs–and even if it wasn't, you can't expect these American patriots (note small p) to just stand down while their constitutional rights are being ripped out of their beating chests by godless liberals and paraded before their eyes! With that said, you have to wonder if the organizers of Sunday's rally weren't quietly rooting for the San Diego Chargers last Sunday.

Is it too late to rent a Jumbotron? Otherwise, turnout seems likely to suffer–and not at Mile High.

Bill of the Week – Hidden Guns for Everyone!

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Wasting no time with their pledge to make every day about guns during the 2014 session, Reps. Wright and Holbert are first up to bat with HB14-1041, a bill for an act:


This bill does two things. I'd address them in order of crazy, but I can't honestly decided which is which. 

First, the bill basically says that anyone who would be able to lawfully possess (notice: "Possess", not "purchase") a gun in the State of Colorado automatically has the right to concealed carry without a permit. 

The word possess is key here, especially as the Republicans work to loosen the Universal Background Check restriction put in place in 2013. If the bill limited the provision to people who could legally purchase a gun in Colorado, this would be slightly less insane, but only slightly.


2013′s Top Story: The GOP (Temporarily) Strikes Back


The 2012 elections sounded another new low for the Colorado Republican Party. Angered by the GOP state house majority's extraordinary measures to kill LGBT civil union legislation at the end of the 2012 session, voters threw out the single-seat Republican majority, restoring Democrats to full control of the General Assembly by a healthy margin. The 2010 round of legislative reapportionment is considered by most observers to have gone badly for Republicans as well, with a large number of newly competitive districts ill-suited to the staunch conservative candidates favored by the GOP primary process.

With the exception of the 2010 "Republican wave" election, in which Republicans still fell short of their goals but managed to take the state house by a single seat, the GOP has been losing elections in Colorado since 2004. The reversal of Republican fortunes from their dominance in the late Nineties through 2002 to Democratic dominance at every level of state government since then has been the subject of books like Blueprint by Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer. Safe to say, the past decade has been very, very tough for the morale of Colorado Republicans.

And then last year, an opportunity to strike back presented itself.

manholdingwomensignIn the wake of mass shootings in 2012 in Aurora, Colorado and in Newtown, Connecticut, support grew among Colorado Democrats to introduce gun safety legislation in the 2013 session. On the morning of the Newtown shooting, Gov. John Hickenlooper was quoted by the Denver Post as having had a change of heart from the aftermath of Aurora in the summer–when he basically said that new gun laws wouldn't help. The news later that day powerfully reinforced Hickenlooper's new view.

As we documented in this space, the campaign to pass gun safety legislation in 2013 turned into the biggest political battle in the Colorado legislature in recent history. Democrats were besieged by pro-gun activists and agitated gun owning members of the public. Crowds of people turned out to testify against the bills, overwhelming hearings, while others drove around the state capitol continuously sounding their horns. Gun owners were in many cases duped by falsehoods about the proposed legislation, being explicitly told by GOP legislators and gun-rights activists that the bills would "ban gun ownership in Colorado." Other alarmist falsehoods, like claims that legislation to limit magazine capacity would "ban all magazines," were pushed by gun activists and uncritically reported by a thoughtless local media.

The result of this misinformed free-for-all was a bitterly angry segment of voters willing to work full time to defeat Democrats responsible for gun safety legislation. As a result of the intense campaign of misinformation by the gun lobby and allied Republicans, a huge gap emerged in public opinion between polled opposition to the vague concept of "gun control," even as they register support–in some cases overwhelming support–for the bills actually passed by the Colorado General Assembly.


It’s 2014: Let The Gun Law Lies Begin!

Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman.

Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman.

As the Colorado Statesman's Peter Marcus reports, that didn't take long:

[Sen. Minority Leader Bill] Cadman supports his colleagues in a pushback against current gun control laws, pointing out that Colorado voters appear to be resistant. He said that even when it comes to background checks there is room for improvement, pointing to potential problems, such as not being able to transfer weapons within a family.

Coloradans support universal background checks by as much as 85 percent, according to polling. But Cadman said that support drops when Coloradans learn about all aspects of the law…

Meanwhile, voters may be asked to weigh in on a variety of gun control issues on both sides of the debate. One question may seek to repeal the magazine ban, while another proposal would ask voters to ban concealed weapons on college campuses.

“There are so many broken pieces along that that got deeper than, ‘We just want to stop guns from getting in the hands of criminals,’” explained Cadman. “Everybody does. We do too. But what they did was they stopped people who had a legitimate right and access to a weapon from getting to a weapon to defend themselves or defend their families. That’s the problem.”

Numerous polls have shown strong and enduring support for universal background checks on gun purchases. In Colorado, a Quinnipiac poll last November showed that fully 85% of Coloradans support the legislation, passed last year in this state as House Bill 1229. Cadman's claim that "support drops" for universal background checks with more details is based on polling done for the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation that "more fully explain" the law. In truth, these dubious pro-gun polls are engineered to produce the results desired by the gun lobby, and can't be considered reliable compared to polls by reputable outfits that consistently show background checks for all gun purchases to be very popular.

Although we believe the question of public support for universal background checks is settled, we wouldn't call Cadman's assertion about differing poll results a "lie" in itself. Here's where Cadman lied:

"But what they did was they stopped people who had a legitimate right and access to a weapon from getting to a weapon to defend themselves or defend their families." [Pols emphasis]

Folks, can you show us a law passed in Colorado last year that stopped any person with a legitimate right to buy a gun from buying one? Don't bother, because you can't. Nothing passed last year in Colorado interferes with the right of any person legally permitted to buy a gun. Universal background checks have stopped criminals from buying guns in private sales, and there has always been an appeal process for background check denials if needed. Despite the absurd fearmongering (and horribly inaccurate news reporting) about the magazine limit bill, it doesn't stop anyone from buying a gun. Cadman's "skepticism" about Senate Bill 197, which requires persons with a domestic violence restraining order against them to surrender their guns, is well known–but that bill isn't really about buying guns, as persons with a restraining order covered by Senate Bill 197 are already prohibited from buying guns by federal law. Not to mention that standing up for domestic abusers could get really ugly for Republicans really quickly. We've never understood the GOP's vocal opposition to this particular bill.

Bottom line: you're going to see a lot of Sen. Bill Cadman this legislative session. Watch for him to argue a variation of this case against last year's gun safety bills as often as possible, as Republicans in the Colorado legislature pursue their agreed strategy of forcing Democrats to talk about (and vote on) gun issues every single day. As Senate Minority Leader, Cadman is going to be the tip of that proverbial spear.

As you can see above, he is also a liar. And that needs to be in these stories too.

Fact: Magpul Played Relocation Patty-Cake Well Before 2013

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

Last Friday, we talked about Erie-based gun magazine manufacturer Magpul's announcement that they intend to move most of their manufacturing jobs out of Colorado in the next 12-16 months. Allegedly in retaliation for the passage last year of House Bill 1224, legislation restricting the sale of gun magazines with a capacity over 15 rounds, coverage of Magpul's impending departure in the Denver Post failed to mention a key component of the story: millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded incentives to offset the cost of moving to other states.

Reviewing this story over the weekend, there is one additional detail regarding Magpul and financial incentives to move out of Colorado that we think every Colorado voter reading this story should understand. Magpul was threatening Colorado economic development authorities with incentives from Wyoming and Texas–the very same states Magpul is now slated to move to–a year before the gun safety legislation Magpul cites as their reason for moving were introduced. As FOX 31's Eli Stokols reported last March during the legislative debate over the bills:

FOX31 Denver has confirmed that Magpul had discussions last year [2012--Pols] with the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade in which they asked about tax incentives and credits that might be available to them as they looked to consolidate their two facilities into a single space at North Park in Broomfield.

“They wanted some state support,” said Kathy Green, OEDIT’s spokeswoman. “We had some job training credits available but there was never any follow-up.”

According to Green, job training incentives would have been available only if the company was adding new jobs.

Last summer, Fitzpatrick reportedly told the governor’s office and Sam Bailey, the business development manager from OEDIT who toured Magpul’s facility, that Texas and Wyoming had lots of incentives for them should the company decide to relocate. [Pols emphasis]

“That was not a threat. We never made any threat to leave,” Doug Smith, Magpul’s Chief Operating Officer, told FOX31 Denver late Thursday afternoon. “We were just mentioning, hey, these other states have approached us, this is something they offer.”

Particularly in light of Magpul's subsequent decisions, it's absurd to suggest that the company mentioning "lots of incentives" available from Wyoming and Texas back in 2012 was not intended to spur a better incentive package from Colorado officials. Of course it was a "threat," and the only question is how implied or overt it was. The millions of dollars Magpul is getting from the state of Wyoming to build a huge new custom manufacturing plant may well have justified their decision to move without the gun safety legislation passed in Colorado last year. Those bills were used by Magpul to panic-sell thousands of high capacity magazines ahead of the new law taking effect, but that can't exactly be called a hardship for the company either. Remember, nothing in House Bill 1224 stops Magpul from manufacturing high capacity magazines in Colorado. 

Wouldn't it be great if a reporter would connect these dots in a news story? How much sympathy would Magpul still have if this had been reported along with the announcement they are leaving the state?

Because there's a real possibility that Magpul has been playing Colorado for suckers this whole time.

Magpul Gets Millions In Incentives To Leave Colorado

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

Colorado-based gun accessory maker Magpul.

As the Denver Post's Carlos Illescas reported yesterday:

Magpul Industries threatened to leave Colorado after the legislature passed a measure banning weapons magazines with more than 15 rounds.

And now that is official.

The Erie-based ammunition magazine manufacturer said Thursday it is relocating its operations to Cheyenne and Texas.

Most of the 200-plus employees will [NOT--Pols correction] be moving to Wyoming, where manufacturing and distribution will take place, said spokesman Duane Liptak.

From plastic ammunition magazine maker Magpul's press release:

The company is relocating manufacturing, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyoming. Magpul is leasing a 58,000 square foot manufacturing and distribution facility during the construction of a 100,000 square foot build-to-suit facility in the Cheyenne Business Parkway. The Wyoming relocation is being completed with support from Governor Matt Mead, the Wyoming Business Council and Cheyenne LEADS.

"Moving operations to states that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important,” says Richard Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive Officer for Magpul Industries. “This relocation will also improve business operations and logistics as we utilize the strengths of Texas and Wyoming in our expansion.”

Erie-based Magpul originally vowed to leave the state during debate over last year's House Bill 1224–legislation limiting the capacity of magazines sold in Colorado to 15 rounds. Their threat to leave was originally a negotiating chip for Republican opponents of the law, but became a retaliatory act once the bill was signed into law. Months dragged on, leading to news reports noting their lack of action to move out of Colorado as threatened. It's worth restating that nothing in House Bill 1224 prevents the manufacture of high capacity magazines in Colorado, only their retail sale to the general public. But Magpul, unlike their defenders in the legislature, was always honest about the fact that they were leaving the state to "defend principle"–not for any real economic reason created by the state's new gun safety laws.

Well, folks, as it turns out, there is an economic motive–but the Denver Post curiously omitted it.

Randy Bruns, CEO of Cheyenne’s economic development organization, said it is working with Magpul on a financial package that could include up to $13 million in state grants and loans to help the company move to Cheyenne. [Pols emphasis]

For Magpul, the passage of House Bill 1224 was an opportunity, not a crisis. Our understanding is that this company is no stranger to taxpayer-funded business incentives. And now, with the pretext of "defending principle" in hand, Magpul is leaving Colorado to custom build a new 100,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Cheyenne with millions of dollars in Wyoming state grants and loans. Apparently they're going to get more taxpayer money from Texas Gov. Rick Perry to build a corporate headquarters in north Texas.

Far from a hardship, could be the most profitable "crisis" in Magpul's history! We think that detail, and maybe the fact that this is the manufacturer of the high capacity magazines used in the Newtown school shootings a year ago, should be included in these stories about Magpul leaving the state. At the very least, readers will understand that this wasn't just some altruistic defense of principle. And others might not be as sorry to see them go at all.

2013′s Top Ten #4: Democrats Don’t Overreact to “Overreach”

Earlier this week we discussed the "Lie of the Year" in Colorado politics, the persistent nonsense that Democrats were out to "take your guns" in 2013. That narrative continued into the September recall elections, the result of which saw two Democratic Senators ousted (though two other recall attempts failed to reach the ballot altogether). Following the Sept. recall results, we saw plenty of lazy analysis blaming Democratic "overreach" in the 2013 legislative session — analysis that had nothing to do with the reality of the situation.

Even Dawson doesn't cry this much.

Even Dawson doesn’t cry this much

Republicans were using the term "overreach" long before the recall elections, both during and after the legislative session in an effort to spin what was a successful session for Democrats. Following miserable losses at the polls in 2012, the GOP once again faced a legislative session as the minority party in both chambers, and the only play in their playbook was to be obstructionist. When that failed to work, Republicans turned to saying that Democrats were "overreaching" in doing their job as legislators. What really happened is a perfect example of why Democrats have continued to win elections in Colorado in the last decade: they went to work on the issues they were elected to tackle. Or as Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon told the Denver Post in late April:

Overreaching? No. I think we've been listening to the people of Colorado and they've told us, 'We put you in charge and we want you to get something done.'

This is a lesson that Republicans have not been able to grasp for more than a decade in Colorado, and it is the fundamental reason why they lost control of the legislature back in 2004: Colorado voters want their elected officials to lead and to get things done, and Democrats have figured that out. As we wrote back in May, when the GOP "overreach" spin was in full tilt:


2013′s Top Ten #6: The Lie of the Year in Colorado Politics

The BS stops here.

One of the stories we've followed over the years here at Colorado Pols has been the steady decline in both the quality and quantity of local political news reporting. In the early years of our writing about Colorado politics, the state benefited greatly from a competitive and robust local media, most importantly the competition between the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News. 

After the Rocky's closure in early 2009, the immediate and arithmetic reduction in political news coverage was obvious. The surviving newspaper of record, the Denver Post, not only had a smaller and greener staff to work local political stories, but gradually became more susceptible to partisan influence in their news coverage through a variety of means. Editing and fact-checking began to suffer. To varying degrees, the same economic pressures squeezing Denver newspapers have affected smaller media outlets across the state, many of whom we've tried to promote the good work of outside their more limited distribution. Television political journalism in Colorado has seen deleterious turnover of highly experienced and discerning staff like 9NEWS' iconic Adam Schrager.

In 2013, the paucity of good journalism in Colorado had significant and lasting effects. In the time we've been covering Colorado politics, it was perhaps the worst year ever for objective facts. Our primary interest is not media criticism, but we've found it necessary more than ever this year just to keep basic facts straight in the permanent record. Of all the bogus storylines in the Colorado press we've had to debunk in 2013, one stands out.

The central issue of this year's legislative session was gun safety, with Democrats taking legislative action in the wake of mass shooting events in Newtown, Connecticut and Aurora, Colorado in 2012. Colorado, a Western state with a long tradition of gun ownership, served as a test of whether very limited and modest action on gun safety could be accomplished outside traditional urban Democratic strongholds. Colorado Democrats introduced a range of proposals, and it was clear from the beginning they were not all intended to pass. So-called "flanking measures" regarding guns on campus and assault weapon liability were intended to provide negotiating space for the highest priority bills, requiring standard background checks for most private gun sales and limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds.

Opponents to these bills responded with an avalanche of false claims about their supposed consequences. Colorado legislators circulated bogus National Rifle Association talking points claiming that Democrats were trying to "outlaw private transfers of guns." But the most egregious falsehood spread by opponents of this year's gun safety bills, not just repeated but actively encouraged by members of the local media, and what we today christen the 2013 Lie of the Year in Colorado Politics, is this:

"If this law passes, almost all guns in Colorado will never be able to get a magazine again."


Guns Gone Wild: Springs father kills 14 yr. old step-daughter

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

NRA won the battle here and helped perpetuate further gun violence and needless deaths:

A Colorado Springs father fatally shot his teenage step-daughter Monday, saying he thought she was a burglar. Prior to the incident, police received a call about a burglary in progress. But when they got there, they found the 14-year-old with a gunshot wound. She was taken to the hospital and died soon after, according to CBS Denver.

Police have not said yet if they will file charges against the Colorado Springs father whose name has not been released, but Colorado is one of many states that has a “shoot first” law that authorizes the use of deadly force in defense of one’s home, and shields individuals who do so from any criminal or civil charges. Although Colorado does not have a Stand Your Ground law, it does have its own version of what is known as the Castle Doctrine, which allows homeowners to use deadly force to protect their dwelling without a duty to retreat. The law was dubbed the “Make My Day,” law after the 1983 Clint Eastwood film ”Sudden Impact,” in which Detective Harry Callahan — “Dirty Harry” — aims a gun at a criminal suspect and says, ”Go ahead, make my day.”

The statute is particularly broad because it authorizes deadly force not just for fear of great bodily harm or death, but anytime a person “has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property.” Castle doctrine laws that empower civilians with guns to take the law into their own hands have been associated with many tragedies.

What more can be said? This is not surprising in the least. The NRA, with the help of local politicians and radical partisans, has glorified the gun culture and ramped up the paranoia of citizens to the point where this type of tragedy is a regular occurence. That's not to say accidents like this could or would never happen, but the gun rights side consistently stretches the truth, browbeats politicians, and perverts the political process to make sure of one thing: there are more guns in the hands of more people who are more inclined to use them at the drop of a hat.

Arapahoe High School Shooting Victim Dies

Arapahoe High School shooting victim Claire Davis.

Arapahoe High School shooting victim Claire Davis.

FOX 31, very sad news this Saturday evening:

Claire Davis, the 17-year-old student wounded in the shooting at Arapahoe High School last week, has died of her injuries, Littleton Adventist Hospital announced Saturday.

“It is with heavy hearts that we share that at 4:29 p.m. this afternoon, Claire Davis passed away, with her family at her side,” the hospital said in a Facebook post. “Claire’s death is immensely heartbreaking for our entire community, …our staff and our families.”

In the days since the attack, Davis had been the subject of a massive outpouring of support. Groups ranging from local equestrian team members to the international pop band One Direction had expressed their affection and worked to ease the burden on her family.

A public memorial service is reportedly being planned. In the meantime, please consider a donation to the Denver Foundation's Arapahoe High School Community Fund Honoring Claire Davis.