Feb. 11, 2004 - Yesterday the Colorado Freedom to Carry Act, HB1281, was killed by political maneuvering.
We'll detail the whole thing, but suffice it to say that what truly killed the bill was a deal cut between the NRA and Republican Leadership (at least in the House).
The House State Affairs Committee, where HB1281, is an 11-member group, with 7 Republicans and 4 Democrats. What used to be considered a very conservative committee has changed drastically, as you will see below.
Many of the usual suspects testified against the bill: Ron Sloan, who is the Arvada Chief of Police (he actually cited Handgun Control Inc in the hearing -- thanks, Chief Sloan, for keying us into your political leanings) and who testified on behalf of the Chiefs of Police, the County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Denver Police Department. Also testifying against the bill was the head of the League of Women Vipers...er, Voters, and the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence (apparently, their director thinks a piece of paper bearing the letters "Restraining Order" are better protection to a frightened woman than a Glock).
State Rep. Mike May boldly rebutted the claims of the anti-gunners, and other pro-gun committee members joined in on the fun. RMGO Executive Director Dudley Brown and a few other private citizens testified for the bill.
Unfortunately for Colorado gun owners, one member of the committee is on a trip to the Far East (Rob Fairbank), and one was sick (Shawn Mitchell, someone who has routinely supported gun rights issues). While some might claim shenanigans with the two absences, that is unlikely -- the true shenanigans have yet to be revealed.
House Speaker Lola Spradley, who is already running for Governor, appointed a replacement for Fairbank: State Rep. Bob Briggs, a Republican from Arvada. That was a sure sign that things were going wrong for HB1281. Briggs is well known as a big government, lefty Republican.
Remember that State Rep. Bill Sinclair, the term-limited Committee Chair from Colo. Springs, had signed a written pledge to support a Vermont bill. And Rep. Sinclair told HB1281's sponsor, Greg Brophy (who did a bang-up job presenting and defending the bill), that he would vote for the bill.
But House Speaker Lola Spradley had a deal to live up to: there has been growing talk, confirmed by many sources, that the NRA isn't pushing any gun bills in Colorado because it is an election year and they don't want to hurt Republican's reelection efforts, primarily those of the State Senate.
We'll explore this issue fully in another e-mail. But we wanted proof that this was the case, and so Rep. Brophy contacted Dave Gill, VP for the Colorado State Shooting Association, to ask them if they were supporting this bill.
Dave Gill's response was that CSSA "is not going to work on 1281 - I'd support it next year." What this means, along with other evidence, is that CSSA and the NRA agree that gun issues are harmful to Republicans in an election. Once you've agreed to that proposition, you might as well fold up shop and build a throne in the State Capitol to Tom Mauser and Sarah Brady -- now they've got supposed "gun rights" leaders believing their lies.
Back to the House Speaker: Lola Spradley was spotted talking to Rep. Sinclair seconds before the committee hearing. The fix was in.
Rep. Sinclair voted with the solid members of the committee (Dave Schultheis, Mike May, Kevin Lundberg, and Bill Cadman) to pass the bill, but that failed on a 5-5 tie (Republican Bob Briggs voted with the Dems against the bill). Usually, the Chairman would hold the bill over until a member returned later in the week. Rep. Briggs then did the Speaker's bidding and moved to "Postpone Indefinitely" the bill (i.e. kill it).
Briggs joined the Democrats, and rather than sticking to his guns, Rep. Sinclair voted to PI the bill. In other words, he figured he could have his cake and eat it, too. It's entirely too bad that Rep. Sinclair isn't able to run for re-election, as we'd relish letting voters know of his shell game.
That means Vermont/Alaska concealed carry is dead for yet another year.
In our next e-mail, we'll fully explore this deal cut between leadership and the NRA/CSSA. In the meantime, stand by for more fireworks.
And, remember the above names: all politicians are ambitious. When the Speaker begins her run for Governor in earnest, she may just find that gun owners aren't so keen on these kind of political games.
To view House Bill 1281, the Colorado Freedom to Carry Act, go to:
To view information about State Rep. Greg Brophy, go to:
To view information about bills in the 2004 Colorado Legislative session, go to
To see the Gun Owners of America Fact Sheet on "Why we need concealed carry policies like Vermont's" go to:
To see the listing of the safest states in the nation (Vermont is #1) go to: