Ken Buck Poses With Illegal Assault Weapon?

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


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.


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)

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► 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?

Get even more smarter after the jump…


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.


Republicans Attempt Bizarre Coup To Placate Dudley Brown


A press release from Colorado House Democrats describes a wild turn of events on the floor of the House today, in which Republicans attempted unsuccessfully to override Democratic Speaker of the House Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, and resurrect the magazine limit bill that died Monday in the House State Affairs Committee. The effort not only failed, but resulted in hard-right Rocky Mountain Gun Owners attacking fellow Republican legislators who didn’t go along with the plan in yet another act of red-on-red treachery:

House Republicans embarrassed themselves this morning with a failed coup attempt against Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst that was covered with the fingerprints of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an extremist special interest group that has clearly taken control of House GOP floor strategy…

Actions of committees are deemed final, and the speaker routinely approves the reports of the various committees and enters them in the House journal to codify the work of those committees. Rep. Everett moved to amend the journal to overturn the work of the committee and show that SB15-175 passed. The rules of the House do not address an amendment to the House journal, leaving the decision up to the speaker, per the rules of the House. Speaker Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, ruled the motion out of order and came to the well to explain her decision.

“The issue here is whether or not by amending the journal you can change the action of a committee,” she told the chamber. “There is no specific rule that says you cannot amend the journal to say that a committee didn’t do what they actually did. I think the reason that there isn’t a rule is that is pretty common-sense. When there is no rule, according to the rules, the speaker decides. And my decision is that we will always, in this body under my rule of order, consider the action of a committee and the vote of a committee as final.”

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports:

A rare procedural move in the Colorado House on Wednesday aimed at forcing a vote to overturn the state’s ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines caught Republican Rep. J. Paul Brown in the crossfire…

Brown, from Ignacio, was one of only five Republicans to join in supporting the speaker.

“It went through the committee process. I don’t like the way the committee voted on it, but that’s what happened,” Brown said. “The speaker can be wrong on certain things. I think the speaker can be challenged. But in this particular case, when you’re trying to overturn what a committee did, that doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.”

Everett, however, said Brown should have supported challenging the speaker, questioning Brown’s commitment to repealing the gun control laws that were passed by Democrats in 2013. [Pols emphasis]

After this morning’s dustup, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners attacked all of the Republican representatives who voted against the “coup attempt.” Unfortunately for Republicans hoping to remain competitive in the 2016 elections, this includes critical targeted Rep. J. Paul Brown in HD-59–whose seat is central to both parties’ strategy for next year. Other Republicans now on the RMGO’s shit list include Reps. Tim DoreYeulin Willett, Bob Rankin, and Jon Keyser.

Here in reality, we know that Rep. Brown is pretty far from what you’d call anti-gun. Brown narrowly ousted Democratic Rep. Mike McLachlan last year after campaigning heavily against McLachlan’s support for the magazine limit bill (despite the fact that McLachlan had actually amended the magazine limit to increase it). But RMGO’s members are likely to follow the group’s lead without question, even when they make little sense as in this case–especially where it concerns downballot races voters know little about otherwise.

Bottom line: this was an embarrassing fool’s errand for the House GOP minority. It’s especially shocking that Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso participated in this action, the most brazen misuse of procedure anyone has seen since majority Republicans resorted to similarly drastic measures to kill the civil unions bill in 2012–and probably longer. Today’s incident is arguably even worse than what Republicans did in 2012, since the magazine limit bill had been killed fair and square in committee after hours of testimony. Safe to say that this will not improve bipartisan relations in the Colorado General Assembly.

As for relations between Republicans, eating their own to placate Dudley Brown seems to be the rule this year.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 15)

Does your Mom/Dad/Spouse/Significant Other work as an accountant? You might see them tomorrow! 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).



► It’s Tax Day, which is a fitting time for the State Senate to discuss legislation to allow local governments to increase the minimum wage. The statewide minimum wage is $8.23 an hour, and more than 600,000 Coloradans earn less than $12 per hour. Meanwhile, Colorado Democrats are pushing to close offshore tax loopholes that could save the state millions of dollars every year.

► Ruh, roh! It’s starting to look like there was plenty of warning that the VA Hospital project in Aurora was going to get ridiculously expensive. Quick, Rep. Mike Coffman, put out a statement with some sort of military analogy!


Get even more smarter after the jump…


GOP Gun Law Repeal Push Becomes Circular Firing Squad



Yesterday’s marathon hearing in the House State Affairs Committee resulted, as expected, in the killing of all of GOP’s bills to repeal the 2013 gun safety laws passed by the Colorado General Assembly, as well as legislation to loosen concealed weapons permit standards and allow guns on school campuses. As has become the norm, the gun lobby’s threats to pack yesterday’s hearing did not materialize, and in fact supporters of the bills Republicans were trying to repeal again outnumbered opponents in testimony. The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader reports:

It was another marathon committee meeting that lasted 12 hours and was filled with emotional testimony from the family of those who lost loved ones to gun violence like the Aurora movie theatre shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary shooting and the Columbine High School shooting.

On the other side countless gun owners concerned with losing their right to bear arms testified in favor of the Republican bills to overturn universal background checks, a ban on high capacity magazines, two bills that would eliminate the requirement for a concealed carry permit, a bill that would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to bring gun on public schools campuses throughout the state and a bill that would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to not get background checks before buying any gun.


In the days before yesterday’s hearing, lingering tensions between the hard-right Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the “corporate conservative” Independence Institute exploded into a highly public and acrimonious fight over the magazine limit bill. In hindsight, it does appear that Jon Caldara’s attack on RMGO is misguided: contrary to his insistence, there was never any appetite on the left or right for increasing the magazine limit to 30 rounds. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Humphrey, made it clear that he wasn’t interested in that, while Sen. Chris Holbert went a step farther and asserted such an amendment would be unconstitutional. But that hasn’t stopped Caldara from harshly calling out RMGO for their supposed intransigence, or RMGO from harshing right back (see photo top right).

In addition to red-on-red infighting between RMGO and the Independence Institute, Republican Rep. Dan Thurlow is taking fire from RMGO today after voting last night to kill the background check repeal and “guns in schools” bills. Thurlow was already on RMGO’s naughty list after voting to kill a bill to make it easier to obtain machine guns and other military weapons, and voting to preserve background checks on private gun sales surely won’t help relations between them–even though Thurlow voted in a way that the public will overwhelmingly favor. These votes would seem to indicate that Thurlow doesn’t care what the gun lobby thinks, especially after either Sen. Tim Neville or Rep. Pat Neville hamfistedly let slip that the Neville clan is driving the whisper campaign against him.

Perhaps most amusing about this whole situation is that Caldara’s intention here was almost certainly to divide Democrats, but in the end, it’s Republicans who are at each other’s throats today–and the policy goal everyone on the right started the session hopeful to achieve, repeal of the magazine limit, is dead with nothing whatsoever to show for it. Instead of using yesterday’s vote as a pretext to attack vulnerable Democrats, today the right in Colorado is pointing fingers only at each other.

Bottom line: all those Republicans who have warned over the years that Dudley Brown and RMGO is a loose cannon, more ripe for self-immolation than glory? This must be what they mean, folks.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 14)

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► The Obama Administration says it has a plan to fund construction of the troubled VA Hospital in Aurora. Congressman Mike Coffman, the Republican Chair of the Veterans Subcommittee on Oversight, continues to bluster without taking time to suggest an actual solution.

► The State House is finished debating several more attempts to overturn gun safety laws passed in 2013. There was much debate, talking, and blustering, but in the end, nothing changed…though divisions within the Republican Party are growing, as the Colorado Springs-Gazette editorial board writes:

Forget Michael Bloomberg, Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislative Democrats for now. The bigger threat to gun rights in Colorado is Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, headed by political operative Dudley Brown.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Get More Smarter on Monday (April 13)

On this day in 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born; do the math yourselves. 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).



► It’s gunpalooza at the state legislature, likely for the final time in 2015. The State House will hear arguments over a plethora of bills that seek to roll back gun safety measures from 2013. Meanwhile, a new front has opened on the gun safety battle — Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) are openly fighting with Independence Institute leader Jon Caldara. You can follow the discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #coleg.

Hillary Clinton is running for President. For reals. If the rest of her campaign is anything like her well-done kickoff video announcement, she will win in 2016.

► Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is announcing his bid for President today. Can Rubio win the GOP nomination for President? Can he beat Hillary? Those are quandaries for another time, because Rubio will be dogged by one single question: Can he even beat former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in his home state?

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Son of Gunmageddon: Dudley Brown’s Last Stand

Today’s main event at the Colorado Capitol kicks off at 1:30PM in the freshly-renovated Room 271, where the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs “kill committee” will debate a total of six Republican bills pertaining to guns:




AP via 9NEWS reports:

Republicans get their last chance of the year Monday to change Colorado’s firearm laws. Lawmakers will consider several proposals, including two bills to eliminate gun-control measures passed by Democrats in 2013…

The Democrat-led House committee hearing the bills Monday is expected to reject them. Other proposals expected to go down include bills to allow concealed handguns at public schools, and to let people to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

Today’s hearing is expected to drag on for many hours. Senate Bill 15-175, the bill that would repeal the 2013 law limiting gun magazines to 15 rounds, is expected to draw the most testimony, and being up first should be a good indicator of how long a night is really in store. We’ve been consistently surprised by the small turnout from the gun lobby and their supporters for hearings to repeal the 2013 gun safety laws–in marked contrast to the huge crowds of gun rights supporters who flooded the Capitol during the original debate. Supporters of the 2013 laws, on the other hand, have consistently mounted a strong defense, even outnumbering witnesses testifying against, and plan to do so again today. From Everytown for Gun Safety’s release:


Get More Smarter on Friday (April 10)

So it’s not technically a “Good Friday.” We’ll take it anyway. 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).



► Democrat Hillary Clinton will officially launch her campaign on Sunday, April 12, with an online video! Polling numbers are all over the place, which makes sense given that it is April 2015.

► Colorado business groups are backing a proposed ballot reform measure that would make it harder to reform the ballot — which is not a bad idea. As the Denver Business Journal explains:

Senate Concurrent Resolution 2 — introduced late Wednesday by Sens. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, and Pat Steadman, D-Denver — would require a majority of voters in a statewide general election to approve any proposed constitutional amendment before it is then resubmitted on a statewide ballot the next year.

It also would require that state officials conduct public hearings about any proposed amendments in each of the state’s seven congressional districts before the second round of voting on the question.

► The State House gave final approval to “The Long Bill,” despite a litany of silly objections from House Republicans. The discussion now heads back to the Senate to work out differences over the $26 billion budget proposal.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 9)

According to a scientist from NASA, we will have proof of alien life in less than 20 years; make your own joke. 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).



► The State House will likely take a final vote on Colorado’s $25-26 billion proposed budget. 

► Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul announced his campaign for President on Tuesday. As the Washington Post reports, things went downhill from there:

In a series of interviews after the freshman senator from Kentucky declared his candidacy on Tuesday, Paul turned prickly — briskly sidestepping tough foreign policy questions from one journalist, lecturing another on how to conduct an interview, and testily declining to clarify his position on abortion…

…the rocky media rollout of his presidential effort highlighted a key question facing him now: whether the same tough approach that has made him a favorite among tea party activists and libertarians might be limiting in a national campaign, as he looks to build a broader coalition rich with voters from beyond his base.

At least Paul still has hope that he can change Kentucky laws to allow him to simultaneously run for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

► Senate Republicans voted to kill a bill that would have stopped “Pray the Gay Away” pseudo-therapy sessions for kids in Colorado. Yesterday, President Obama denounced the idea of “gay conversion.”

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Anti-choice activists push for dangerous fetal-homicide bill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

During a KNUS 710-AM radio interview yesterday, Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman said he’s “really hoping” to get a fetal homicide bill introduced “by the end of the week.”

KNUS radio host Dan Caplis, who’s a deep-red social conservative, urged Cadman to push for a law like California’s, which establishes a fetus as a potential victim of a crime.

Cadman replied that the California law is “definitely one of the models that we’re looking at.”

Pro-choice advocates, however, say the California law undermines civil rights protections of pregnant women, allowing for criminal investigations of pregnant women based on the legal rights of the fetus.

They say any fetal homicide measure is unnecessary, as Colorado’s Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act is the gold standard insofar as it mandates severe penalties for perpetrators of crimes like the Longmont attack, while protecting abortion rights and the civil rights of pregnant women.

The Longmont attacker faces charges that could result in a 100-year prison term.


Get More Smarter on Thursday (March 19)

Get More SmarterWe don’t care what anybody says: Today is NOT the first day of the second round of the NCAA Tournament. 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).



► Anyone got an extra $1.73 billion that they aren’t using? We may need it to finish the new VA Hospital in Denver that is actually in Aurora. Also, Rep. Mike Coffman is complaining again that other people aren’t doing stuff.

► Surprise! No, wait…what’s the opposite of surprise? Colorado doesn’t have much room in next year’s budget to fund things. It’s almost like we need a new source of revenue or something.

 ► We may not have much money in the state coffers, but at least we’re offering tax refunds! Thanks, TABOR: Destroying Colorado one ratchet effect at a time.

 ► But wait, The U.S. Senate will save the fiscal day! Oh, nevermind.

Get even more smarter after the jump…


Meet RMGO’s Latest “Gun Grabber”

The hard-charging Rocky Mountain Gun Owners group has found a new target (metaphorically speaking) for their anger over Colorado’s 2013 gun safety laws:


That’s right, folks! Former Attorney General John Suthers, now a candidate for mayor of Colorado Springs, is under fire (again, metaphor) for his “defense” of the 2013 gun laws–both in court defending the state from lawsuits, and in the form of a technical memo on enforcement of the magazine limit law, House Bill 13-1224, that debunked a large percentage of the hysteria being promoted by the very same RMGO.

Former Colorado Attorney General argued AGAINST your Second Amendment rights in court, and now he wants to be Mayor of Colorado Springs. If you or someone you know lives in Colorado Springs, please don’t vote for this gun-grabber.

The detail RMGO director Dudley Brown seems to not wish to acknowledge is that as Colorado’s Attorney General, Suthers was obliged to defend the gun safety laws passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Suthers made no secret of his personal opposition to the 2013 gun laws, but that wasn’t enough to induce Suthers to shirk his duties as AG. We have heard that Suthers found some of the hyperbole from fellow Republicans about the gun laws to be absurd, such as their claims that the laws would ‘ban gun ownership’ or ‘ban all magazines.’ That acknowledgement of reality is a far cry from lumping Suthers in with the dreaded “gun grabbers.”

But as we know after watching RMGO these last few years, reality has little to do with it.