2000 Elections mixed for gun owners

Mauser gets his gun control, for now; 
House gets more pro-gun, Senate goes to Dems

Colorado voters gave a relatively mixed message in the November elections, proving once again that Colorado citizens won’t be pigeon-holed.

For gun owners, the message was equally ambiguous.  SAFE’s Amendment 22, which forces private sales at gun shows to undergo the Brady Registration check, passed by a 70% margin, proving that soft-pedaled gun control can win, even in Colorado.  Those of you who missed our comments to the media on election night should know we did everything we could to focus gun owners on the tasks ahead of us, which are daunting.

RMGO and GOA will file a lawsuit before Amendment 22 is enacted on March 31, 2001, challenging not just the amendment but Brady Registration checks in Colorado as a whole.  Colorado's Constitution reads “the right of no person to keep and bear arms.... shall be called in question.”  What do you call a background check, conducted by a dealer or a private person, at a sporting goods shop or a gun show, if not "calling in question?"  Expect to hear more on this as it is develops.

SAFE is now here to stay, and they are funded by an enormous machine.  Expect them to begin their crusade for other gun controls on a national and local level soon – probably trigger locks and the “private sale” loophole.

The Colorado Legislature

For the first time in 40 years, the Democrats are in control of the Colorado Senate.  Gun rights hero Jim Congrove lost his very tight race in northern Jefferson county, while Penn Pfiffner, a good vote but leaning toward apologist on our issues, lost handily.

Gun rights advocate Bruce Cairns of Aurora defeated his liberal Democrat opponent, despite his opponent’s blistering attacks on gun issues.  Conservative John Andrews won his race against Scott Evans, even though Handgun Control, Inc. attacked him mercilessly for his pro-freedom stance (see http://www.terrible-trio.com" for some of HCI’s nastiness).  Ken Arnold narrowly won in a race that lasted early into the morning.

The Senate GOP’s more liberal candidates failed by large margins: Fort Collins’ Steve Tool, Denver’s Dorothy Gotlieb, and Aurora’s Debbie Allen each lost by large margins, dispelling the myth that gun issues were the downfall of Republicans.

The Colorado House moved firmly to the right on gun issues with victories from real Americans Pam Rhodes (R-Thornton), Bill Crane (R-Arvada), Mark Chloer (R-Colo. Springs), Dave Schultheis (R-Colorado Springs) and Tim Fritz (R- Loveland).  Expect these new members to form a solid base in addition to newcomer Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs), gun rights diehards Mark Paschall, Joe Nunez, and Sean Mitchell, and the decent votes of Rob Fairbanks, Lauri Clapp, Don Lee and new House Speaker Doug Dean.

One very regrettable loss in the House: Scott McKay of  Lakewood lost in a surprise loss to Democrat Betty Boyd.   McKay’s seat overlaps with candidate Pfiffner’s senate seat, and results from both races were identical in percentage, suggesting bad feelings from Pfiffner’s divisive primary.  Republican (?) Senator Norma Anderson should shoulder some burden for the loss of both McKay and Pfiffner.


Some Conclusions

While gun issues weren’t the major factor, they certainly were a weapon favored by the Democrats.  But GOP loss of the Senate can only be attributed to the tide of Union money used to assail Republican Senate candidates.  In the last 6 weeks of the campaigns, Democrats used huge amounts of forced union dues to attack pro-gun conservatives on virtually every issue, especially gun rights.  If you pay union dues, you helped defeat your friends.

What vote did Democrats use against Republicans?  Dem. Sens. Matsunaka, Feeley, and Perlmutter forced a slew of gun votes on a “Safe Schools” bill last year, all designed to use in the election.

Senate conservatives warned GOP leadership about this very issue, but term-limited Sen. Ray Powers, who no one will mistake for a brain surgeon, told the Senate chairman to allow the amendments.  Ray Powers, more than anyone else, can be thanked for the Democrats’ coup in the Senate.   On the bright side, Powers is no longer in the Senate.

Liberal Republican pundits have claimed this Colorado election proves that Republicans must move to the middle to be elected:  nothing could be further from the truth.

Republican Senate candidates who ran to the left (Tool, Allen, Gotlieb) lost by large margins, compared to the closer elections of noted conservatives Congrove and Pfiffner.

Though the loss of Jim Congrove stings, the number of pro-gun Senators didn’t change when Bruce Cairns won in Aurora.   Democrats in charge could be a bonus for gun owners, if Democrats fight with Republicans over gun control plans.   However, expect a landslide of gun control coming from the left-lead Senate.

The House saw dramatic gains for pro-gun conservatives, despite Republicans losing a net of 2 seats (giving them a 38-27 majority).

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners PAC spent more than $50,000 in legislative races and in the battle against Amendment 22, setting a record for Colorado pro-gun organizations.  But with the Colorado Legislature in session in early January, our battle is far from over.

Our thanks go out to all of you who put in time, money and talent to fight the good fight.  Remember: we are serious people doing serious things, and we WILL be back.

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