Many gun control bills dead: others waiting in the wings

Wednesday, January 26, 2000 -- Though the major media still has no clue what is happening in the legislature, our efforts to swamp the legislature with phone calls, postcards, e-mails and faxes are finally paying off. Many of the worst bills are dead – due to the pressure from RMGO and GOA members – but we are still facing half a dozen "reasonable" gun measures that are more likely threats to your freedom.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday killed these bills:

SB89 by Rob Hernandez to force all sales under the Brady Registration check, and raise the age of purchase of both handguns and so-called "assault weapons."

SB166 by Pat Pascoe to mandate you to lock up your safety by forcing dangerous trigger locks on citizens. It also raised the legal age to possess a handgun to 21.

But the Senate Judic. Committee passed SB125, the Baby Brady Registration bill. Though Sen. John Andrews and 3 liberal Democrats saved the day by defeating an attempt by Sen. Ken Arnold to make CBI deny a purchase based on an arrest (which they are doing now by presuming someone guilty until they prove themselves innocent) this bill is not out of the woods yet: expect moderate and liberal Republicans to do the bidding of Gov. Owens by amending the bill while on the Senate floor, where we could lose that battle.

The House State Affairs Committee on Tuesday killed these bills:

HB1220 by Paul Zimmerman – prohibiting purchase of handguns at gun shows for 18-20 year olds.

HB1245 by Sue Windels – The Teacher Disarmament Act, prohibiting weapons in schools.

It also passed two good bills:

HB1208 by Lauri Clapp to limit the lawsuits on firearms manufacturers, which Governor Gun Control vetoed last year. Though Owens has assured lawmakers he will sign it this year, we all know what his word is worth.

HB1289 by Lynn Hefley to create a statewide Preemption for firearms laws. This bill would overturn Denver’s assault weapons ban and stop their practice of seizing vehicles simply for having a firearm in your car.

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee killed two bills:

SB10 by Ron Teck, a companion bill to HB1208 that passed (see not above). If Senate President Ray Powers puts the House bill in Judiciary Committee, this mean no protection from the frivilous lawsuits filed by the city of Denver and other anti-gun mayors.

SB152 by MaryAnne Tebedo, a very feeble attempt at creating statewide criteria for issuing concealed carry permits. This bill did not even force sheriffs to issue: it left "may issue" alone in state statute, only suggesting that law enforcement officials issue permits. Like many other bills, it died on a tie vote with Wham joining the Democrats.

Now the hard works starts. Though House Speaker Russ George promised several lawmakers to assign all gun bills to the House State Affairs Committee (where conservatives hold a majority on the committee) he assigned the majority of gun bills to the House Judiciary, where we face stiff opposition.

The House Judiciary Comm. will meet on Thursday (Jan. 28) at 1:30 pm in the Legislative Services Building Room A (the large building just south of the State Capitol) with plans to hear 9 bills:

HB1201 by McElhany – Weapons possession by a felon
by Gotlieb – Prohibiting gun sales to 18-20 year olds
by Gordon – Brady Registration checks at gun shows
by Lee – Previous offenders possessing weapons
by Lee – Keeping concealed weapon permit information confidential
by Lee – Fingerprinting of Juveniles
by Lee – Parental consent for firearms for juveniles
by Chavez – Using juvenile records for Brady Registration checks
by Decker – Penalty for firearms straw purchasers

The only good bill is HB1114 to keep concealed carry permit holders information confidential. The rest have either some anti-gun provisions, titles that could fit anti-gun provisions on the floor, or are outright disasters, like HB1242. As for parental consent for firearms for juveniles, it could easily be laden with anti-gun provisions. Let’s not take the chance of accidentally passing the Governor’s gun control agenda by trying to "do something about that gun problem."

Watch out for this gun grab

Today (Wednesday, Jan. 26) the Rocky Mountain News reported that Gov. Owens hasn’t given up on his gun control agenda. Remember, Owens is a shrewd politician – he’s got something up his sleeve this session, and will certainly try to make the Baby Brady bill (SB125) as strict as possible, nabbing thousands of law-abiding gun purchasers.

The CBI can now deny a purchase to any applicant that has ever been arrested or charged with a crime that would bar them from purchasing a firearm (Capitol insiders call this "denial based on arrest" but we call it Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent). RMGO staff field hundreds of calls a year from law-abiding citizens who were denied a firearm purchase because of something that happened 30 years ago.

Rather than the burden of proof being placed on law enforcement to prove that you are eligible to buy a firearm, Owens wants to continue the practice of assuming you are guilty until YOU prove YOURSELF innocent. Denial based on arrest is unconstitutional, but that hasn’t stopped politicians in the past. We oppose the Brady Registration checks because they register gun owners, but if we can’t get rid of Brady completely right now we’d rather force CBI to do their job by determining eligibility based on conviction.

This seems to be one area where the NRA and Gov. Gun Control disagree: to date the NRA has yet to show any public disapproval of Owens’ gun control agenda, and have even supported his idea of Brady Registration checks for private sales at a gun show. Hopefully, the disagreement between the NRA and Owens on "Guilty Until Proven Innocent" Registration checks will jolt the institutional gun lobby out of their long slumber.

What you can do: Call members of the House Judiciary Committee to urge them to vote against EVERY bill except HB1114.

House Judiciary Committee members:

Kaufman (Chairman) 303-866-2947
Lawrence (Vice Chair.) 303-866-2922
Decker 303-866-2946
Hefley 303-866-2924
McPherson 303-866-2944
Mitchell 303-866-4667
Morrison 303-866-2937
Spence 303-866-2935

Chavez 303-866-2925
Clarke 303-866-2909
Grossman 303-866-2015
Leyba 303-866-2911
Veiga 303-866-2921

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