Colorado Democrats have control of the state Senate, House and governor’s office. So this year, under pressure from the White House, they launched into a war on guns, adopting one regulation, restriction and rule after another.
Now the piper has come calling for his pay.
It was following public hearings on a series of gun-control bills last month that Michael Bane, an independent executive producer for four programs, Shooting Gallery, The Best Defense, Rapid Fire, and Gun Stories, that are on the Outdoor Channel, sent an email to Republican state Sen. Steve King saying that after seeking the advice of legal counsel, his company was pulling all production out of Colorado.
“This morning I met with my three producers, and we made the decision that if these anti-gun bills become law, we will be moving all of our production OUT of Colorado,” the email said. “We have already canceled a scheduled filming session for late this month.”
He explained his commitment to the Second Amendment and noted his legal advisers were alarmed by the state’s actions.
“Obviously, part of this is due to our own commitment to the right to keep and bear arms, but it also reflects three lawyers’ opinions that these laws are so poorly drafted and so designed to trap otherwise legal citizens into a crime (one of our attorneys referred to them as ‘flypaper laws’) that it is simply too dangerous for us to film here,” he wrote.
“I can give you chapter and verse on the legal implications if you need, but suffice to say that the first legal opinion was so scary we went out and got two others. All three attorneys agreed.”
Among the measures signed into law are requirements for universal background checks for gun transfers and a ban on magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Additionally, residents now wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right must pay a fee. The laws are among the toughest in the nation passed since the Sandy Hook massacre in December.
While the loss of tax revenue is expected to cost the state only $500,000 in 2013, Colorado can expect to lose even more revenue from other businesses who no longer will be doing business in the state as long as the restrictive gun control laws remain on the books.
WND previously reported management of the Boulder-based Magpul Industries warned Democrats the company would be closing its plant and moving out of the state if the laws, including the ban on all magazines capable of either holding or being modified to hold more than 15 rounds, were passed.
The company is in the process of following through on its promise to relocate and take several hundred jobs out of the state.
After Magpul’s announcement, Fort Collins-based HiViz Shooting systems announced it, too, would be moving to another state that respects the Second Amendment.
In announcing the move, HIvIZ President and CEO Philip Howe said the decision came down to maintaining a clear conscience regarding where it sends its tax revenue.
“I make this announcement with mixed emotions. Colorado is a beautiful state with great people, but we cannot in clear conscience support with our taxes a state that has proven through recent legislation a willingness to infringe upon the constitutional rights of our customer base,” Howe said.
Bane told King that his programs on the Outdoor Channel, although they have a relatively small viewing audience, do have influence in the small community of producers.
“Last week I had lunch with a major network producer who was looking to locate his new reality series in Colorado,” Bane explained. “That producer is also a shooter, and the new reality series will now be based out of Phoenix. That lunch cost Colorado over a million in economic impact.
“The message we will take to our viewers and listeners is that these proposed laws are so dangerous to hunters and any other person, be she a fisherman or a skier who brings a handgun into the state for self-defense, that we cannot recommend hunting, fishing or visiting Colorado. We reach millions of people, and, quite frankly, we have a credibility that Colorado government officials can no longer match.”
Media outlets have reported threats by sportsmen, including anglers and hunters, from other states who have said they intend to boycott the Colorado.
Hunting and fishing brings in an estimated $1.8 billion a year for Colorado, with $186 million coming from out-of-state residents. Consequently, if even a relatively small percentage of sportsmen chose to follow through on the boycott, it could result in serious revenue losses for the state.
Others have expressed fear about becoming a lawbreaker if someone loans them a gun for more than 72 hours. Additionally, the laws make it a crime to “transfer” a magazine that is capable of being modified or able to hold more than 15 rounds. The simple act of passing a magazine to another person constitutes an illegal transfer under the law.
Earlier this month, the International Defensive Pistol Association also announced it was planning on canceling a shooting event July 4-6 because of the new laws.
“With these new Colorado laws going into effect July 1, and based on the ambiguous way in which they were written, we have decided to cancel the Rocky Mountain Western States Regional IDPA Championship,” event organizer Walt Proulx said. “Due to the growing number of hunters and shooters choosing to boycott Colorado, and the risk that these laws as written will turn law-abiding citizens into criminals, we were left with no other choice but to cancel what was planned to be one of IDPA’s major regional championships, and one strongly supported by Montrose-area businesses.”
Chris Jurney, vice president of the Colorado Outfitters Association, told the Colorado Springs Gazette the group already is seeing cancellations because of the gun laws, which could be devastating for the state and business owners.
“There’s a united front of sportsmen that are tired of having their freedoms and liberties and fundamental rights taken away from them,” Jurney said. “That kind of unity among sportsmen is going to be big and unfortunately for those of us who live here, we’re going to suffer the consequences of this misguided legislation.”
The state has made nationwide news over the gun control laws, which were pushed through the Democrat-controlled legislature.
During debate over the gun control measures, the vast majority of citizens testifying before the legislature were opposed to any new gun control laws. However, frequently their testimony was dismissed and treated with disdain by Democratic lawmakers who seemed to have already made up their minds about passing the laws.
State Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, scolded a witness opposing one of the gun restrictions.
Amanda Collins, 27, of Reno, Nev., was telling her story of being assaulted and explained that had she been carrying a concealed weapon, the incident might have ended differently.
“I just want to say that, actually statistics are not on your side even if you had a gun,” Hudak scolded. “And, chances are that if you would have had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you.”
Hudak continued, speaking over the committee witness, “The Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence says that every one woman who used a handgun in self-defense, 83 here are killed by them.”
Finally able to resume her testimony, Collins said, “Senator, you weren’t there. I know without a doubt [the outcome would have been different with a gun].
“He already had a weapon,” she told the meeting of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. “He didn’t need mine.”
A similar attitude was displayed by state Rep. Joe Salazar.
He said that a woman who feels threatened by rape on a college campus doesn't need to be armed because she can use a call box to get help.
Salazar's statement came in a debate over a proposal to ban citizens possessing a concealed-carry permit from being armed on university campuses.
"It's why we have call boxes," said Salazar, "It's why we have safe zones, it's why we have the whistles. Because you just don't know who you're gonna be shooting at.
"And you don’t know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around, or if you feel like you're in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody."
Perhaps the most surprising statement came from U.S. Rep. Diane DeGette, a Denver Democrat who displayed her perspective on gun magazines.
"I will tell you these are ammunition, they're bullets, so the people who have those now they're going to shoot them; so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot, and there won't be any more available," she said.
The Denver Post said DeGette didn't appear to understand that a firearm magazine can be reloaded with more bullets.
Additionally, the gun control issue in Colorado has been featured on major media outlets after a majority of the state's sheriffs have said that not only will they not enforce the new laws, but that they are actually suing the state over them.
"We have said these laws are unconstitutional and if we truly believe what we are saying then we need to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak," Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said. "These laws are an infringement on people's Second Amendment rights and we need to represent and stand up for the citizens who voted us into office."
State officials admitted they were doing the bidding of the White House. In February, Vice President Joe Biden flew to the state to strong-arm Democratic lawmakers who were feeling pressure from their constituents to vote against the bills.
"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 Denver Post.
House Majority Leader Mark Ferrandino, an open homosexual who also pursued a "civil unions" agenda this year, admitted the gun-control bills introduced by fellow Democrats had national implications.
"I was shocked that he called. He said he thought the bills could help them on a national level," Ferrandino said.