Chlouber concealed carry advances
Preemption passes first Senate floor vote

Feb. 21, 2003 - This morning the Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB24 by Sen. Ken Chlouber (R-Leadville) to the full Senate.  Senate Bill 63 by Sen. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo. Springs) was held over at the request of the sponsor for a simple reason: right now, we don’t have the votes to pass it out of the Senate.

Chlouber’s concealed carry bill fraught with problems

However, RMGO worked with several Senators to add language to SB24 (while in the State Affairs Committee) to add an amendment that would prohibit a statewide database of permit holders.  Two other amendments failed: one to get rid of the outrageous requirement in SB24 to have training within the last 5 years; the other to make hunter safety training as the lowest level of training required.

These three issues are incredibly important to gun owners: allowing government bureaucrats to create a statewide database of permit holders is tantamount to another gun owner registration scheme.

There is another issue that is rather large: SB24 clumsily does a dance about private property (page 25, starting at line 17), leaving a gaping hole for attorneys to create new criminal safezones.

There is no need for a concealed carry bill to give private property owners the ability to control their own property, as there is a long history of Colorado law that defines the rights and obligations of private property owners.  What SB24’s language could do is give quasi-governmental entities, like Coors field, the ability to create their own criminal safezone.  This entire provision of SB24 needs to be removed.

Senate Bill 24 has other problems: it creates K-12 public schools as a new criminal safezone, though it does allow parents to carry in their vehicles while picking up their kids; it gathers fingerprints when there is really no need (background checks rarely turn up more with fingerprints); it is expensive ($100 plus fingerprint fees for a 4 year permit, not to mention the cost for required training); and it sunsets existing permits early.

Part of the problem is that Sen. Chlouber is doing everything possible to keep the Sheriff's Association happy.  The last time we checked, the sheriff's association doesn’t have a vote in the Colorado legislature, and if sheriffs as a whole had agreed upon a good concealed carry policy, we wouldn’t need this change in law.  In other words, it is the sheriffs that brought us to this point by not issuing permits -- they shouldn't be setting law, as Chlouber is allowing them to do.

Legislation is like a snowball rolling downhill: it gathers speed but it also gathers junk that it picks up along the way.  After a while, few pay attention to what is inside that snowball, as most only see the surface.  NRA members are often unwitting victims of this principle, reading the headlines of a bill and trusting an organization to give them straight scoop.  They may as well place their trust in junk bonds.

The requirement to have training within the last 5 years is one of those pieces of junk.  For the first 8 years of concealed carry battles (the first concealed carry bill in modern history was run in 1994, when Chlouber and then-State Rep. Drew Clark both ran bills) this requirement was never mentioned, but in 2001 a well-meaning witness to a concealed carry bill let fly a wild idea: Bob Meyer, an Arapahoe County Republican activist and a certified firearms trainer, thought EVERYONE should have refresher courses in firearms use and safety.  Either arrogance (“There are too many stupid people with guns” attitude) or naiveté led him to suggest this new requirement, and now it has become a part of the snowball.

The problem is that once it is in the bill it is difficult to remove.  We’re doing our best to get rid of this requirement, but for now we can only say “Thanks, Bob.”

Why are things so difficult to remove from the bill?  Though we can give clear and convincing arguments for changes we would like to make to Chlouber’s bill, the fact is that logic is not dictating anything – politics is the driving force.

The Governor wants to pass a concealed carry bill, but he wants one so mucked up with concessions to the anti-gun lobby that even Tom Mauser should be happy with it.

The difference is that our side (other than RMGO and GOA) doesn’t push, they only give ground.  SAFE, Ceasefire and the rest of the gun ban group pushes and pushes, and once they get what they want, they push more.  They NEVER settle.  Unfortunately, the NRA always settles, long before the battle even happens.

On top of that factor is that the NRA isn’t representing its members: it is representing the Governor.  On our web page is a picture of NRA State Liasion Maryanne Bradfield talking with a member of the governor’s staff

More updates later.


Preemption passes initial Senate approval

On Wednesday the Senate passed SB25, the preemption bill, by Sen. Jim Dyer.  The 18 Senators who voted for the bill are the minimum to pass it in a 35 member chamber.  All Republicans voted for the bill except Lewis Entz and Ken Arnold.  Democrats voting for the bill were Bob Hagedorn and Jim Isgar.

Preemption means local ordinances on gun issues couldn't be enacted by city councils, county commissioners, or any other such government entities below the state.  This bill would overturn Denver's assault weapons ban, get rid of Boulder's silly new municipal gun controls, nullify Denver's brandishing law, just to name a few.

A quick note: Sen. Ken Arnold signed a 1996 GOA candidate survey, pledging not only to vote for preemption (and Vermont-style concealed carry, which he is now opposing) but also to SPONSOR it.   On Wednesday Arnold voted against the bill.  Obviously that pledge was a lie – though Arnold is term-limited, we will be watching should he try to run for any other offices.

You can view his pledge online (if you have Adobe Acrobat installed) by clicking here.

The full Senate will have a final vote on SB25 next week.

An unidentified Rocky Mountain Gun Owners member, dressed in mufti, displays his RMGO cap in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Channel 4 News Story on Gun Show Sales

by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Executive Director

Nov. 11, 2002 - Tonight (Monday, Nov. 11th) Channel 4 News at 10 p.m. will air a "story" about gun shows and the parts sold there. It is a companion piece to the story that air on Sunday evening about explosives being sold at gun shows.

I was contacted by reporter Rick Salinger last week, and viewed a video tape of a purchase made at a gun show. The part purchased was a selector lever for an M-16 (4 position). Salinger then taped my comments.

For those who are not knowledgeable in this area, it is illegal to own that particular part if you have an AR-15. The ATF claims it proves you are attempting to convert your rifle to select fire (full auto), which is in violation of the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA, foisted upon gun owners by none other than the National Rifle Association).  However, it is not illegal to sell that part: there are many Title II weapons owners who need replacement parts.

This entire story stems from a gun owner whom the ATF is prosecuting for owning an AR-15 and the M-16 selector group. This gun owner didn't use the weapon in a crime, nor did he attempt to convert the weapon to full auto (at least, that is what we understand). He committed a crime of possession.

When this gun owner and his attorney realized that he needed to prove how easy it was to violate this law, they hired a private investigator to smuggle a hidden camera into a gun show and film the sale of these parts. Presumably the film failed to convince the jury and so the defendant found a reporter to air the story.

According to Salinger at Channel 4, this gun owner is going up the river. Though we do not know the specific sentence, we do know that violations of the NFA are punished severely -- this man could spend the better part of a decade behind bars, all for having the wrong parts.

In our view, federal agents should be pursuing REAL terrorists, not unwitting and law-abiding citizens who run afoul of the 22,000 gun laws in America. When interviewed I defended the sale of the part and sympathized with the ATF's victim on one specific point: even experts can't agree on what is legal and illegal, leading gun owners into a no-win situation.

Salinger admitted (hopefully, he admits it on camera) that the ATF agents had only a loose hold on the legalities of purchasing/owning these kind of parts. As John Ross details in his book "Unintended Consequences" the ATF knows little about the laws they attempt to enforce. If the information about the sale of M-16 selector parts is accurate, the seller did nothing illegal. In fact, if the News 4 story even alludes to illegal activity by the seller we will urge him to sue the channel.

What should alarm gun owners is the tone of this prosecution, and where the ATF could possibly get the revenue to operate this kind of investigation.

This prosecution, and thousands like it across our country, are the direct result of an insidious program called Project Exile.

We have dubbed Project Exile with a more accurate moniker: Project Gestapo (credit goes to KHNC's witty talk show host and great American Mark Call).

Project Gestapo is a private/public partnership designed to do one thing: prosecute ANY firearms violations at the highest level possible and with the most resources at the prosecutor's disposal.

Some gun owners have bought into the Project Gestapo trap, banging the "don't pass new laws, just enforce those we have now." Much of Project Exile is an attitude about gun laws -- that violating these laws cannot be tolerated in any form. But banging that gong is dangerous, since it empowers bureaucrats to launch a witch hunt for gun owners.

To many gun owners (undoubtedly including some of the readers of this diatribe) Project Gestapo is an appeasement to the gun control monster. This attitude -- I don't have that kind of weapon, so I don't care if they make it illegal" is widely prevalent in America's shooting culture, and may even be held by a majority of competitive shooters, who care so deeply about their sport that they are willing to throw a bone to the gun ban crowd in order to protect their specific, cherished method of shooting. Winston Churchill said "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last."

Why call it Project Gestapo? Simple: its program encourages citizens to stick their nose into their neighbors business and rat on them for "illegal firearms." The secret police of the Nazi regime used these kinds of tactics not only to corner those in disfavor with the state but also to inflame a populace against a particular group in their society.

Where does Project Gestapo get its money? It has numerous sources, including leftist foundations and corporations, but it's most prominent donors will surprise many.

The most alarming sources of Project Gestapo's funding are the NRA and Sarah Brady's gun-grabbing organization. In February of 2000 the NRA's Wayne LaPierre joined James Brady and a bevy of lawmakers at a Denver news conference to unveil the launching of Project Gestapo in Colorado. They showed TV advertisements, billboards and other tools used to get citizens to turn in their neighbors for "illegal guns."

Gestapo Billboard in Colorado

Why would the NRA fund this kind of project? The NRA is terribly sensitive to the media and the perception of politicians. They desperately want to avoid being branded as the radicals on the issue, and so they dabble in projects that bolster their image with these two groups.  LEAA, which is the NRA's shill organization for law enforcement officers, is just one example, while Project Gestapo may be the most damaging example.

If you think you are insulated from this type of case because you don't touch illegal guns, think again. Project Gestapo wants hides hung on the barn, and care little if they only prosecute paperwork violations. That retractable stock you may own, for instance, could be used on a rifle that isn't allowed to have one, making you a target for prosecution. One prominent Denver attorney estimates that Denver's federal bench is using 70% of its time to prosecute "gun crimes." As a gun owner, expect to be vilified.

For more information about Project Gestapo, click here.

You can also see a list of organizations and individuals who have condemned Project Gestapo by clicking here.

RMGO will work tirelessly to strip the funding for Project Gestapo and others like it, but we need your help.

If you aren't a member of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, you can join by clicking here.

You can also make a simple, anonymous donation from that location.

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