Guns & Laws

It would take you less than an hour to drive from Columbine High School to the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora. Both venues are in the suburbs of Denver and subject to the laws created by the Colorado Legislature.

Few politicians have mentioned laws when talking about the shooting in Aurora. The following story will help explain this reluctance.

I was the Minority Leader in the Colorado House when the Columbine shooting occurred.

Most of the guns used at Columbine were bought at the Tanner Gun Show in Adams County. Robyn Anderson, a friend of the Columbine shooters, Harris and Klebold, went with them to the show, and helped them buy the guns. She testified in a House hearing that they purposefully bought guns at tables that were not federally licensed dealers, because they did not want to give their names and addresses for a background check. 

Following Columbine, I sponsored the legislation to require background checks for any purchase at a gun show. We referred to it as “closing the gun show loophole.”

While I was carrying this bill, I went to a social event, and a woman came up to me and said, “Are you sponsoring the bill to do background checks at gun shows?” 

I said, “Yes.”

She said, “Is it going to pass?”

I already knew that the bill was going to die in House Appropriations Committee. I needed two Republican votes, and I only had one.

I told her, “No, it isn’t going to pass.”

She said, “Why, that is terrible - after Columbine - all those kids killed and the guns coming from that gun show.”  She was angry, and because I was the only one there, she was angry at me. “Why isn’t that bill going to pass?” she demanded.

I said, “Do you know who your State Representative is?”

She said, “No.”

I said, “That is why the bill is not going to pass.”

Members of highly motivated special interest groups, whether motivated by ideology or profit, know who their elected representatives are. They interact with them frequently. They show up at legislative hearings, and they work on and contribute to campaigns.

Although the bill to close the gun show loophole did not pass at the legislature, it did pass by way of initiative. It got 70% of the vote. However, the vote of those lawmakers against the majority (a vote that would allow convicted felons, those with mental illness, and domestic abusers to buy guns) was not irrational. They were voting with the 30% who paid attention, participated, and contributed.

If the majority of the American people want to actually run this country, (and we should) we need to step up our game. We need to pay attention, participate, and contribute.

P.S. We have compiled a list of current CO lawmakers who have taken gun lobby money. Make sure they listen to you and not these contributors.

Showing 2 reactions

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  • commented 2012-07-24 21:54:32 -0600
    It is my understanding that the high capacity magazine gun the shooter used in the Aurora tragedy could not have been legally purchased by the average citizen before congress let the bill expire that banned the purchase of assault weapons by average citizens. We do not need all those assault weapons out on our streets. It is time for our legislators to do the right thing for the average American. The NRA and gun manufacturers have had far too much power over our legislators!
  • commented 2012-07-24 16:16:32 -0600
    We do not need anymore laws concerning gun control. Gun control is already built into the 2nd amendment, that is the part about a well regulated militia. But nobody bothers to tie the first part of the amendment with the second part. The 2nd amendment reads as follows:

    “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

    Since the people’s right to keep and bear arms not being infringed upon is tied to a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, then the only logical conclusion one can come away from the 2nd amendment is that people who keep and bear arms must be members of a well regulated militia, or above.
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