DENVER – With some arm-twisting by Vice President Joe Biden, the Obama administration has pressured Democratic lawmakers in gun-friendly Colorado to “fall on their swords” and pass restrictions on firearms it hopes will be a model for the nation, a state lawmaker contends.
While much attention has been focused on President Obama’s calls for federal legislation establishing universal background checks and a ban on assault weapons, the administration is working hard at the state level.
New York was the first to pass strict controls on guns after the Sandy Hook shooting, with its ban on assault weapons and magazines, but the move was not a surprise in the liberal Northeast.
In Colorado, where gun control is far less popular among a large rural population, a flurry of gun control bills include one that would hold gun makers and owners responsible for any crimes committed by their weapons, even if they were stolen.
“The first thing the Democrats did was introduce a bill that would have declared an unloaded gun to be a deadly weapon,” said Lori Saine, R-Dacono. “This would enable police to confiscate any firearm on the basis it is a deadly weapon, even if it is unloaded.”
The other bills introduced are:
- HB 1224, which would bans all magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
- HB 1226 would prohibit those with concealed carry permits, including off duty police officers and former military personnel, from bringing their weapons on college campuses.
- HB 1228 would force residents to pay for exercising a constitutional right by making them pay for a background check to prove they are not criminals. There is no limit on the amount the Colorado Bureau of Investigation could charge for the background check.
- HB 1229 bans the private sale and transfer of firearms and institutes universal background checks and/gun registration for all Colorado gun owners.
All the bills are moving forward through the legislative process.
Friday, before an hours-long marathon debate on the plans, a handful of Democrats from rural areas planned to oppose the bills. The rural Democrats ran on platforms of support for the Second Amendment, and their constituents want them to vote that way.
But everything changed late in the day when the lawmakers got some arm-twisting advice from Vice President Joe Biden, who happened to be vacationing in Aspen at the time.
Biden reportedly called Democratic lawmakers and pressured them to vote for the measures in exchange for promises of campaign cash and support during their reelection bids in 2014.
“What he essentially did was tell these Democrats to fall on their swords in order to pass the president’s agenda, which is ultimately about gun confiscation,” Saine said. “What they need to realize is that these promises are almost never kept, and come next year, they will be left to face angry voters on their own.”
While some have questioned why the administration has chosen to so forcefully insert itself into what should be a state issue, Saine said there is a very clear agenda at work.
“The consensus appears to be that Obama wants all of these gun bills passed in order to use as a model for other states to emulate,” she explained.
“If they can pass these draconian bills in a state like Colorado, it can have an effect on other states beyond the progressive states like California and New York,” she said. ‘The issue goes beyond us; our state is literally a battleground for gun rights and personal safety through self-defense right now.”
Open homosexual Mark Ferrandino, the House speaker, has ridiculed the idea the Obama is pushing a national agenda with the Colorado gun-ban effort.
The Denver Post reported he said the response to the bills had nothing to do with Biden’s visit.
However, another Democratic lawmaker revealed that there was, indeed, a plan by the Obama administration at work.
“He (Biden) said it would send a strong message to the rest of the country that a western state had passed gun-control bills,” Tony Exhum, a Democratic lawmaker from Colorado Springs, told the Post.
Ferrandino also tacitly admitted the gun-control bills introduced by Democrats have national implications.
“I was shocked that he called. He said he thought the bills could help them on a national level,” he said.
The move to push the bills is even more noteworthy, as the message state lawmakers have been getting from their constituents is overwhelmingly against gun control. It was reported that several lawmakers canceled town hall meetings last weekend to avoid being confronted with their constituents on the issue.
Dudley Brown, president of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the executive director of the National Association of Gun Rights, said during debate at the capital last week that gun-rights supporters far outnumbered advocates of gun control.
“At a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, there were maybe 15 supporters for these gun control laws, compared to over 250 people who were there to support the Second Amendment,” Brown said. “Despite this, Democrats seem determined to push these bills through, but if they do they will pay a heavy price come next November.”
WND has reported that since Democrats took control of both chambers in Colorado they have also taken a hard-line approach on the issue of homosexuality.
During the debate on a civil union bill, since homosexual marriage is banned in the state Constitution, Democrats removed an exemption from the bill that would have given conscience protections to Christian business owners.
Senate Majority Leader Pat Steadman, a homosexual, publicly told Christians who regard homosexuality as a sin, based on the Bible, to “get thee to a nunnery” and remove themselves from society.
In the debate on the gun bills, lawmakers criticized the state’s largest manufacturer of high-capacity magazines for threatening to leave Colorado if the state bans magazines over 15 rounds.
“If we’re able to stay in Colorado and manufacture a product, but law-abiding citizens of the state were unable to purchase the product, customers around the state and the nation would boycott us for remaining here,” said Doug Smith, chief operating officer for Magpul Industries. “Staying here would hurt our business.”
Democratic Rep. Daniel Kagan said Magpul just doesn’t understand.
“Manufacturers will be able to still sell and transfer these high-capacity magazines to individuals in other states, the U.S. military and law enforcement,” Kagan told the Post. “We want [Magpul] to stay here in Colorado. It would be sad to see them leave.”
House Minority Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs, noted the hypocrisy on the part of the Democrats, who proposed an amendment allowing Magpul to continue making high-capacity magazines for out-of-state sale.
“Apparently, they are not instruments of destruction when they’re purchased outside the borders of Colorado,” he told the Post.
Brown said lawmakers from both parties will ultimately be sorry if they push ahead with plans to follow the will of Obama rather than their own constituents.
“Gun owners are coming out of the woodwork right now to fight the battle,” Brown said. “What they are doing to us now in the legislature, we get to do to them in the next election, and we’re not going to play nice, either. We know how to play hardbal,l and we’re really going to play hardball this year.”