Shawn Mitchell

Throwing a heavy net of restrictions over gun users was always going to entangle law abiding Coloradans’ Constitutional rights. But Sara Warren couldn’t have guessed how it would trip up her ability to make a living.

No one foresaw her plight because no one thought through the battery of gun controls conceived in Washington DC and New York City and imposed on the Rocky Mountains.The President insisted; Joe Biden insisted; Michael Bloomberg insisted; and governing Democrats saluted: If we can grab guns here in western, purple Colorado, we can do it anywhere.

The state’s malpractice was hasty, deliberate, and cowardly. The Democrat-controlled legislature stiff-armed overwhelming public opposition, ignored warnings of numerous flaws and drafting problems, skipped any attempt to fix bad bills, and rushed the slate by razor margins to the governor. John Hickenlooper signed the package in a rushed, closed event. Coloradans were unamused over being treated as symbolic pawns in a national chess game. Three recalled lawmakers paid with their jobs.

Now the state is paying in confusion and harassment of innocent citizens. As reported in Loveland’s Reporter-Herald, Ms. Warren is a contract maid and housecleaner. For her safety, she legally carries a gun into unknown buildings and residences. Well, she used to carry. She’s been without her handgun and fearful to take on unfamiliar new jobs since she was injured in an auto accident in April.

What does that have to do with her gun? It seems ambulance EMTs took the gun from her car or purse, gave to hospital employees, who gave it Ft. Collins Police, who won’t give it back to her. They claim they can’t under the new laws.

One bill codified the reportedly popular idea of universal background checks for all gun transfers, commercial or private. Concepts often poll well, but details can bite. Opponents warned at the time the language was too broad, the provisions unclear, and all kinds of unintended mischief was in store.

Ft. Collins police say their city attorney--and apparent legal guardian and custodian of their judgment and sense—advises them the gun was transferred out of Warren’s possession. Now, the cops possess it. Re-transfer to its owner requires a “universal background check.” Complicating things, the law routes such checks through licensed gun dealers—FFLs or Federal Firearms Licensees in industry parlance—because private parties don’t have access to criminal databases.


Shawn Mitchell

Shawn Mitchell was elected to Senate District 23 in the Colorado General Assembly in November of 2004. Shawn is an attorney at private practice in Denver and Adams County.
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