My support for new gun-safety laws in this year’s legislative session has sparked a lively conversation in the pages of the Summit Daily News. That’s great — we cannot be effective legislators without public input. And because a well-informed public is another key component of a responsive democracy, I’d like to clear up a few misconceptions that have crept into the debate.
First, no one is denying Coloradans their Second Amendment rights. The number of guns seized from law-abiding citizens is exactly zero, and will remain zero. Every gun that was legal before July 1, when the new laws went into effect, is legal today. Our Second Amendment rights are firmly protected.
Next, the notion that these new laws are “widely hated,” as reported in a recent article, deserves some scrutiny. Statewide polls show support for background checks for all gun buyers in the 80 percent range, right up there with powder days in March. Limits on high-capacity magazines also have the support of a solid majority of Coloradans.
Some people are vigorously exercising their right to criticize the new laws. I respect their opinion and thank them for their input, which resulted in changes that improved the legislation. But just because the critics are loud doesn’t mean they represent a majority of Coloradans.
I voted for the new gun-safety laws because I believe they are aligned with the interests of the majority of my constituents and respect not only the Second Amendment, but also our Western heritage and our sporting traditions. The new laws will make it harder for dangerous criminals and domestic abusers to obtain firearms. They will reduce the chances of another Columbine or another Aurora. They will make all our communities safer.
I’m thankful that gun violence is not as grave a threat in our mountain communities as it is in the big Front Range cities. But make no mistake; gun violence is a statewide problem, which warrants a statewide solution that balances the interests of every community in the state. These new laws do that.
I’m a realist, and I know there is no overnight cure for the epidemic of gun violence that has wreaked so much havoc on our communities and made all of us feel a little less secure when we venture out to go to school, to church, to shop or to see a movie, or even if we simply stay at home.
The new laws are not a magic potion. But they are common-sense measures that move us in the right direction without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.
I proudly stand on my record as a supporter of the new gun-safety laws, just as I stand behind the rest of my work in Denver this session. I sponsored a wide variety of bills this year that are good for my district and good for Colorado, including laws that incentivize wildfire mitigation, build a fire suppression system in the Eisenhower-Johnson tunnels, modernize our school finance system and promote water conservation.
I supported these laws for the same reason I voted for the gun-safety measures: because I value Coloradans, their families, their neighborhoods and their livelihoods.
As always, please do not hesitate to call or email me. I love to hear from you.
State Rep. Millie Hamner’s House District 61 includes Summit, Lake and Pitkin counties and parts of Delta and Gunnison counties. She lives in Dillon and can be reached 303-866-2952 or firstname.lastname@example.org.