Michael Schaus

The Colt .45 might have built the west; so let’s hurry up and outlaw it. The “moderate”, Governor John Hickenlooper (D), signed into law three new gun control measures that fundamentally strip from the state its Western heritage. In comparison, the new laws make New York’s recent changes seem positively libertarian. The Governor of Colorado, who has repeatedly said he is above partisan politics, affixed his signature to Democrat sponsored bills that where passed entirely by Democrats and supported by big name Democrats. But let’s not kid ourselves: This was clearly not about politics.


So what exactly are these three bills? Are they really the most expansive gun control push in America? They are pretty close. The murder capital of America (Chicago) might still be out legislating the gun control advocates in Colorful Colorado. But not by much:


For review:

One bill bans virtually every detachable magazine in circulation today. Any magazine that may be “easily converted” (which is not specifically detailed or defined) to hold more than 15 rounds is suddenly illegal to sell, purchase or use. There is a grandfather clause – with a catch: No one but the owner of the magazine may even hold the magazine, much less utilize it. Furthermore, any firearm that accepts more than 15 rounds without a detachable magazine is now illegal. Period. If you own an SKS or a certain Ruger bolt action you will be in violation of Colorado law as of July 1st of this year.


Grandparents will no longer be able to give their grandchildren their old hunting rifle without a background check. Spouses will no longer be able to share a pistol. Best friends will become criminals if they so much as swap hunting rifles for a day. Any transfer of a firearm (including something as simple as letting a friend fire off a few rounds of your new Kimber) without a background check will be deemed a criminal act. Because, ya know, criminals always follow the rules. (I’m sure the gang member who is selling hoards of cocaine and Uzis will make sure to run a background check on his buyer.)


Even something as responsible as asking a family member to babysit your guns while you travel, will constitute a crime if not accompanied by a background check and (supposed) registration. And the best part: The state can now assign an arbitrary fee to all background checks. All transfers will require background checks, and all checks will be accompanied by a state fee. (The amount of which has yet to been determined.)


What is most egregious about the passage of these bills – aside from the obvious infringement on Second Amendment rights and lawful possession of mainstream self defense tools – is that the interest of the state’s citizenry seemed blatantly ignored.  Mayor Bloomberg, and even Joe Biden, called the Governor and Legislature to encourage the passage of these bills. Apparently a phone call from the Vice President of the United States is far more influential than the thousands of phone calls from the general public. Apparently the crowd of people begging legislators to let them keep their guns just doesn’t pull the same kind of weight it used to. (Although, in all fairness, free men are not supposed to beg.)


There must be a reason the “moderate” and “pro-business” governor of Colorado would sign such a partisan and job killing bill. (Did I mention businesses associated with firearms are pulling out of Colorado as a consequence of these bills? That's not exactly the kind of "pro-business" initiative we need in this recovery.) It was likely not because of political expediency. It is doubtful the governor will highlight the passage of such a controversial and ill-received bill as a tenant of his re-election. All 62 sheriffs have indicated they are hesitant to enforce the laws, and a growing number are coming right out and saying they won’t enforce the laws.


Which brings us to another point: The Colorado Sheriffs Association unanimously stood in opposition to all three of these bills. The single most expansive law enforcement community condemned the bills as sloppy, arbitrary and ineffective. (Not to mention unconstitutional.) And yet, the “every-man” governor of Colorado ignored their objections. Why? Because he knows better than the average Colorado sheriff what would make the state safer?


The simple lesson for Colorado (and the nation) is simple: Elections have consequences. And while party politics are infuriating and deflating at times, the simple fact remains: Democrats have imposed upon the good people of Colorado a gun control scheme that would make Sullivan, Bloomberg, and even Brady blush. Democrats have criminalized otherwise responsible-law-abiding gun owners. Democrats have illegalized a heritage, a tradition, and a sport. Democrats have shredded the long standing freedoms that made Colorado the liberty loving state it was always assumed to be.


This is the world of one-party rule. But more importantly: This is the world of Liberal group think. The world of rushed judgment, draconian legislation and failed ideas. On one scale, or another, every single one of the provisions signed into law by Governor Hickenlooper has been tried somewhere. And all have proven to be failures. (Ahem, Chicago.) 


The only thing that has been accomplished in Colorado is that beginning July 1 far more citizens of this great state will suddenly become criminals. Not by their actions, but by the actions of their legislators.


And so lives the power of the state – at the expense of the people.


Michael Schaus

Michael Schaus is the Associate Editor for Townhall Finance, and the Executive Producer for Ransom Notes Radio. He is a former talk show host and political activist. Having worked in fields ranging from construction to financial investment, his perspectives and world views are forged with a deep understanding of what it means to be an American.