What Tuesday’s Election Results Mean to Colorado Gun Owners
Before we become too ecstatic over widespread Republican election victories, it is worth a quick analysis of Tuesday’s election – with a wary eye cast at both parties.
Contrary to some “gun groups” reporting that Republicans taking control of the Colorado Senate means we have a pro-gun majority, the Senate hasn’t moved sharply to the right. While Sen. President-elect John Andrews is an incredible improvement over Sen. Stan Matsunaka, Andrews still has a number of squishy GOP senators in his 18 member caucus. That means that one GOP defector changes the dynamics of any vote (since there are a total of 35 state senators), and empowers the left. A Democrat Senator today remarked in the Rocky Mountain News that Dem senators would be working hand-in-hand with GOP “moderates” (we call them liberals) to pass reasonable legislation (read: gun control). Also consider that with a Republican House and Senate, and Governor Gun Control, the legislature is likely to pass a concealed carry bill that all three like. That means a concealed carry bill that weakens the current law. More about that later.
The Senate actually lost one conservative when Marilyn Musgrave ran for Congress and her seat was redistricted into another senate seat. The Senate’s conservative caucus consists of Bruce Cairns (R – Aurora), Doug Lamborn (R – Colo. Springs), John Andrews (R – Centennial), Mark Hillman (R – Burlington), and Jim Dyer (R – Littleton).
The state House saw Republicans lose one seat, splitting the legislature 37-28. New faces Greg Brophy (R – Wray), Tom Wiens (R – Sedalia) and Michael May (R – Parker) are likely candidates to join the existing solid conservative caucus of Ted Harvey (R – Highlands Ranch), Mark Cloer (R – Colo. Springs), Dave Schultheis (R – Colo. Springs), Pam Rhodes (R – Thornton), Bill Crane (R – Arvada), Don Lee (R – Littleton) and Lauri Clapp (R – Englewood). Though the jury is still out, these new faces are also candidates to join the House’s real pro-gun group: Ray Rose (R – Montrose), Kevin Lundberg (R – Loveland) and Bob McCluskey (R – Fort Collins). The loss of longtime stalwart Rep. Mark Paschall (R – Arvada), who was term-limited, will force younger conservatives to step up to the plate and do the dirty work Paschall had been counted upon for.
Colorado Congressional Delegation
Though Republicans enjoyed a major shift in power in Congress, the real story in Colorado is the election of St. Sen. Marilyn Musgrave to Colorado’s 4th Congressional District. Musgrave set the standard in the legislature for conservative votes, leading conservatives during her stints in both the State House and State Senate.
Bob Beauprez, now considered the victor in the 7th Congressional District, is a mixed bag. Beauprez signed the SAFE gun control ballot initiative in 2000 (the Boulder Daily Camera has a nice interview with him where he proudly supports this insidious gun control scheme), and more importantly, discouraged solid pro-gun candidates from running for office when he served as GOP State Party chairman. While he clearly will vote better than Mike Feeley, Beauprez will be a questionable vote on virtually every gun issue – including the reauthorization of the assault weapons ban, which will take place in the next 2 years. Gun owners in the 7th district should be very cautious of Beauprez.
Why wouldn’t gun owners be excited about passing ANY concealed carry bill, you might ask? First, understand that virtually every sheriff now issues permits. With the election of new sheriffs in Jefferson, Adams, Douglas and Arapahoe Counties, even more sheriffs will be issuing permits. The problem remains Denver – which is the only major county in Colorado that refuses to issue permits. So, the question remains: should we pass a bill that weakens current law (current law only requires fingerprints and a background check – no mandatory training, no needs requirement, etc, but individual sheriffs place their own requirements on issuing) just so that Denver residents can get a permit?
Our opinion is that any ccw law must be an improvement over existing law – which means the current rights of citizens should not be infringed.
Newly re-elected Gov. Bill Owens, Sen. Ken Chlouber, and the NRA are already banging the gong to pass a bill that has expensive and cumbersome government-mandated training requirements as well as a centralized database of gun owners and criminal safezones (specifically K-12 schools, which is a bald-faced sell-out to the teachers union). All three of these items weaken current law.
In Congress, there are concerns with having a GOP controlled executive and legislative branch as well. Much of the “Homeland Defense” legislation, which tramples on the rights of citizens, can be expected to pass easily. We’ll have to remain hyper vigilant with this issue, as well as the issue that will define our movement for decades to come: the reauthorization of the Feinstein Assault Weapons ban, which must take place by Sept. 2004 or be sunsetted.
In both the State Legislature and Congress, gun owners should remember that our founding fathers created checks and balances – termed “gridlock” now – to deny those who would destroy the fabric of our freedoms. Put simply, gridlock is our friend.