Sunday, February 29, 2004

Here's RMGO's after action report on the no-permit required concealed carry bill in Colorado.

Here's the deal: The NRA had promised not to push any pro-gun legislation this year. Their justification was that pro-gun votes hurt Republicans in elections. Now, call me crazy, but I had for some reason always assumed that pro-gun voters made up a large part of the Republican base. In any event that's the lie explanation the NRA offered.

In steps RMGO, who gets Rep. Brophy (R-District 63) to sponsor a pro-gun bill that would eliminate the permit requirement for carrying concealed as long as you'd be qualified to get a permit. It leaves the permit system in place for those who want a permit to travel to other states that recognize Colorado's permits, but for in-state carry it's no longer required. This means you could carry immediately & much less expensively if you'd meet the other requirements. Here's the text of HB 1281.

The bill was sent to the Committee on State, Veterans & Military Affairs. It was made up of 7 Republicans & 4 Democrats, with Rep. Sinclair (R-District 16) chairing the committee.

Now here's where it gets interesting. Two members of the committee were absent. Rep. Fairbank (R-District 22) was out of the country & Rep. Mitchell (R-District 33) was ill. That left the committee with 5 Republicans & 4 Democrats.

Speaker of the House Spradley (R-District 60) appointed Rep. Briggs (R-District 29) to take Rep. Fairbank's place. Rep. Brigg's is considered by RMGO as a left leaning big government type Republican: in other words a RINO. Speaker of the House Spradley appointed him despite this. Her running for governor may have something to do with it. The RINO we have in office now would have approved of her actions & it?s possible she sees this in the same light he does: a way to appeal to the moderate & left leaning voters.

Rep. Sinclair had signed a pledge to support a no-permit required concealed carry law as well as telling the bill's sponsor Rep. Brophy that he would support it, but keep in mind he is term limited & cannot run for election again.

As for testimony on the bill, Arvada's Chief of Police Ron Sloan testified against it on behalf of the Chiefs of Police, the County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Denver Police Department. He even went so far as to quote Handgun Control Inc. The League of Women Voters testified against it, as did the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Rep. May (R-District 44) gave a spirited defense of the bill, as did a few unnamed pro-gun committee members. Dudley Brown of RMGO & some private citizens testified on behalf of the bill.

& what about the NRA &/or its state affiliate the CSSA?

Dave Gill, VP of the CSSA was contacted by Rep. Brophy & when asked about the CSSA's stance on the bill said he would support it next year, but not this year. This would seem to confirm the notion that the NRA did promise not to push any pro-gun bills this year.

Dudley Brown reports that Speaker of the House Spradley was seen talking to Rep. Sinclair minutes before the vote, leading him to believe that the outcome of the bill was fixed.

& how did the vote turn out? Rep. Sinclair, Rep. May, Rep. Schultheis (R-District 14), Rep. Lundberg (R-District 49), Rep. Cadmen (R-District 15) voted for the bill.

Rep. Briggs, Rep. Frangas (D-District 4), Rep. Ragsdale (D-District 35), Rep. Weddig (D-District 36), & Rep. Weismann (D-District 12) voted against the bill.

That left us with a tie vote. Now what is normally done in such a situation is the bill is held over for a week or two until the absent committee member(s) can return, but Rep. Frangas moved to indefinitely postpone the bill with Rep. Weddig seconding it. "Postpone indefinitely" is legislative language for killing the bill. Rep. Sinclair voted to "P.I." the bill & the motion to "P.I." was passed 6-4-1. Thus the bill to stop the infringement of the exercise of a Right was killed.

According to this story from the Denver Post, Rep. Brophy doesn't think it was simply a policy disagreement that killed his bill.

"Brophy said after the vote that he doesn't think the bill died on its merits. He said House leaders don't think the gun issue is good for Republicans, a position he disagrees with.
'Republicans shouldn't run from this issue,' Brophy said. Votes on loosening gun rules can energize the party's conservative base, he added."

More from the article:

"House Speaker Lola Spradley, R-Beulah, would not say whether she wanted the bill killed."

Odds are she thought openly opposing the bill would adversely affect her chance of getting moderate & left leaning support for her gubernatorial campaign, but openly supporting it would have eroded support from her conservative base.

"However, she did appoint Rep. Bob Briggs, R-Westminster, to fill a temporary committee vacancy Tuesday, and he cast the deciding vote that killed the bill. Had Spradley left the seat open, the bill would have survived the committee and been debated on the floor."

Which shows that even though she would not speak the words publicly, her actions clearly show where she stands on the matter of Rights.

"The bottom line was that the bill was not going to make it through the Senate - it's an extremely controversial bill, and it died in committee,' Spradley said."

Sounds familiar doesn't it? The outcome of the bill was already decided thus there was no point in opposing the outcome. I believe that's from page 17 of the NRA lies Excuses Manual, under the section entitled Why We Sold You Out Why We Opposed Or Didn't Support Pro-Gun Legislation.

"Committee Chairman William Sinclair, R-Colorado Springs, said he supported the bill and would have liked to see it pass.
'It's no question if it got out on the floor it would have been one (heck) of a fight because the Democrats would have lined up against it and some Republicans, but that's not what happened,' he said."

Nope. That's not what happened. & the reason why that's not what happened is because Rep. Sinclair bowed to political pressure & voted to "P.I." the bill. After all, he voted for it the first time around, thereby fulfilling his promise, so he obviously felt free to vote to kill it.

Rep. Rose (R-District 58) has pulled a bill he introduced that would have corrected some infringements of contract Rights in Colorado's gun show law. His reasoning was equally questionable:

"Why should I put all my fellow representatives on record on a very contentious vote in an election year when I don't have to - when I know the bill is going to die?' he asked."

I guess "because it's the right thing to do" wouldn't be a valid reason for taking risks according to Rep. Rose's philosophy.

Senate President John Andrews hedged on this year's gun bills.
'I feel as though we accomplished a great deal with our carry bill and pre-emption bill last year. I think the general mood of both the House and Senate is to digest both those bills,' he said."

What all this means is that the NRA has talked Colorado legislators into not pushing any pro-gun bills on the misguided belief that it will make the elections tougher. Here's RMGO's Billwatch page which shows the legislation, both alive & dead, in Colorado this year.

(Of note is that the bill to increase hunting & fishing license extortion fees has passed the house & is currently in a committee in the Senate.)

& from this story in the Rocky Mountain News we find out what Rep. Briggs thought son the matter were.

"...Republican leaders don't want legislators voting for controversial bills for fear that their voting records will be used by challengers in the November election.
'That concern was expressed to me,' said Rep. Bob Briggs, R-Westminster, who was a last-minute appointment to the House State Affairs Committee and voted against the bill"

I wonder in what manner that concern was expressed to him. & by whom?

Now according to this post by Billll at the High Road, we find an equally absurd line of justification for not supporting pro-gun bills;

"Bill, Be careful what you ask for. I think the passage of this bill will
only excite the anti-gun people who will then go to the ballot with an
imitative banning all forms of concealed carry. Just look at what they
accomplished with Amendment 22, remember they have the numbers. It will only take a bill like this to really get them energized. "

That was from Rep. Stengall (R-District 38). Rep. Stengall is also the sponsor of the bill that would increase hunting & fishing license extortion fees from between 50% to 100% (depending upon the specific license) that's already been passed in the House & is in a Senate committee.

Here's my take on things:

The Republicans either bought some BS from the NRA or convinced the NRA to go along with some BS they thought of on their own about pro-gun votes hurting Republican re-election efforts. In either case the NRA & CSSA decided to take a break from pretending to fight for your Rights. The Republicans did as well.

So when pro-gun bills crop up, they get sent to committees which will kill them w/o having to have the entire House vote one way or the other. Speaker of the House Spradley has ambitions for the governorship & obviously doing favors for her now is akin to career advancement in some legislators eyes. Rep. Briggs would be one of them, & I suspect that it caused him no grief to put a political favor above the Rights of the people who allegedly represents.

Now I agree that a vote on a gun bill could be bad for Republicans seeking re-election, but that would be a ?no? vote on a pro-gun bill or a "yes" vote on an anti-gun bill. Sad when a political party thinks a vote for freedom or against an infringement of a Right would hurt them politically isn't it?

So if you live in Colorado & won't subject yourself to groveling for permission & paying a fee to exercise a Right, thank Speaker of the House Spradley, Rep. Sinclair, Rep. Briggs, the NRA & the CSSA for ensuring you'll be arrested & charged if you?re caught.

In fact, here?s the contact info for all concerned.

Be sure to thank those who were

Rep. Brophy
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2906

Rep. Cadman
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-5525

Rep. Lundberg
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2907

Rep. May
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2933

Rep. Schultheis
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2937

& be sure to expres your disappointment in those that were

Rep. Briggs
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2950

Rep. Frangas
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2954

Rep. Ragsdale
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2843

Rep. Sinclair
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2965

Speaker of the House Spradley
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2346

Rep. Stengall
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2953

Rep. Weddig
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Capitol Phone: (303)866-2942

Rep. Weismann
Office Location: 200 E. Colfax, Room 271
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: (303)866-2920

In addition to the legislators, The Denver Post was opposed to the bill as they?re opposed to most pro-gun bills & supportive of most anti-gun bills. Here's the link to The Denver Posts contact page.

The CSSA declined to support the bill & seems to have been in league with Lucifer the NRA in having it killed. Here?s the link to the CSSA's Directory page CSSA Vice President Dave Gill can be reached at
CSSA President can be reached at
CSSA Legislative Director Tim Brown can be reached at

The NRA seems to have been a major force in getting pro-gun bills such as the Colorado Freedom to Carry Act killed. The contact info for their Field Rep. for Colorado is:
David Lee
P.O. Box 458
Fort Morgan, CO 80701-0458
970-867-1916 (office)
970-867-1917 (fax)

I urge you to withdraw any & all financial, emotional, spiritual &/or material support from the people & organizations listed until such time as they have proven they're not going to sell you out for their own agenda. If you have 1 day to go before your membership expires, call them up, cancel & explain why.

Rep. Sinclair is term limited, so threatening to not vote for him won't do much good. However there is always the traditional approach; ostracize him. Don?t engage in any social interaction with him, except to express your disappointment in his betrayal of Colorado?s people. Similarly don't do business with him. If he comes to you offering to purchase a service tell him you don't do business with people who betray you. If you need a service & find out he's selling, then tell him you don?t trader with people who betray you.

Speaker of the House Spradley is in a different position. She's running for governor. So in her case by all means inform her of why you won't vote for her, & why you're planning to ostracize her, but give her an out: if she'll apologize for her betrayal & make up for it (as in actively, if not downright viciously promoting & supporting pro-gun & pro-individual Rights legislation) then you'll not actively support her opponent & you'll consider doing business with her.

I?m not hip to the situation of the other anti-Rights legislators, but depending upon their situation I'd recommend applying either the first or second tactic. & yes, even to the Democrats. Traditionally the Democrats are an anti-gun party & odds are they don't count on many Republican votes, but it never hurts to try. Besides, the look on their face when you tell them to get the hell out of your store (or whatever equivalent is appropriate to your line of work) because they disrespected your Rights will be at least some consolation until the election comes around.

& spread the word to your friends & neighbors, especially about Speaker of the House Spradley. I know many who think she's the best choice for governor, but odds are their view would change if they knew she had part in the killing of a pro-gun bill.

& by all means, this November remember who was supportive of your Rights & who sold them out. Even if it means having a Democrat in office it's important to politically punish those who betray you. Until you & a bunch of others are willing to do that the Republicans will continue to be a party that is a little less anti-gun than the Democrats. Vote Libertarian, or Constitution Party, or any other political party whose candidate in that race promises to support your Rights. If you think it's wasting your vote then get off your ass & try to drum up support for the pro-gun candidate that the third party offers. But remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil, & if you let any party betray you once they'll damn skippy do it again.


The situation in the U.S. Senate concerning the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act makes what happened in Colorado seem a bit more odd than it initially did.

For those of you who haven't been paying attention to the U.S. Senate, last week a bill was introduced to provide immunity for firearms manufacturers & dealers from what are best described as frivolous lawsuits. The short version of it is if a manufacturer or dealer was criminally negligent or violated the law then they could still be sued for damages that resulted from their actions. If the manufacturer or dealer was not criminally negligent & they did not violate any laws then they could not be sued for damages resulting from the use of their products. In other words if you are hurt because a dealer was selling guns illegally & one of those guns was used by a criminal to harm you or if you suffer injury because the firearm blew up through no fault of your own you could still sue the manufacturer &/or dealer. If a person legally buys a gun & that gun is used by him or anyone else to harm you, then you couldn't sue the manufacturer or dealer.

Now the bill is a good idea & would be beneficial to the firearms manufacturers, dealers & those who purchase firearms. It would stop lawsuits that are intended to bankrupt the industry & wouldn't effect any suits with merit. But it is not so important as to justify an extension of the "assault weapons" ban or any other attachment to it that would further restrict our Right to Arms.

Anyway, the bill was introduced & there was strong bi-partisan support of it. They voted for cloture (which prevents a filibuster & limits debate & amendments) & it passed easily. However a deal was struck between the majority & minority that negated all the benefits of cloture & allowed many more amendments to be proposed & debated with a final vote on the bill as amended on Tuesday.

Now what strikes me as odd is that some Colorado Republicans have said that the gun control issue is to be avoided in an election year & it's alleged that the NRA either gave them or strongly agreed with that idea. Yet on the national level they're actively pushing a pro-gun bill despite any election risks.

Further it's been alleged that the NRA cut a deal so the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act could get a vote at the risk of having gun control measures attached. The details of the alleged deal itself aren't known but the two possibilities are that they agreed to have a lot of gun control measures proposed & voted on if the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act got a vote or that they agreed to let some gun control measures be added on in exchange for passing the bill. They deny this but they've cut deals in the past that have been harmful to gun owners & everything I've seen seems to back the conclusion that the most recent one was right here in Colorado.

So the NRA is pushing a pro-gun bill at the national level, but it's alledged they are behind the lack of support for pro-gun bills in Colorado.

Also they are alleged to have cut a deal on the national level which could be harmful to the pro-gun movement (which they deny) but evidence seems to suggest that they've cut just such a deal here in Colorado.

On the national level we'll have a better idea of what did & didn't happen after the vote on Tuesday. It's my belief that if any serious gun control is passed along with the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that it will be a result of the NRA's efforts to get this bill passed. Whether their intent was good but negligent or malicious would be debated for some time.

Whether or not you agree with my assessment of the NRA that should not stop you from urging them (as well as your legislators on the federal & state levels) to do the right thing & not give in to the urge to compromise.

For further reading, analysis & updates as they happen on the U.S. Senate debates concerning the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act check back here & also visit GeekWithA.45 & SayUncle.

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