Last Tuesday’s recall elections in Pueblo and Colorado Springs may not be quite what people think they were.
For the anti-tank-rifle-toting, cold-dead-hands second amendment fetishists, sorry. Even most of the people who voted to remove Colorado Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron recognize reasonable limits where firearms are concerned. So if you want to carry the largest handgun you can find plus a bandolier of extra 20-round magazines into your local bar on a Saturday night, the better to be prepared to shoot back at other drunks, you might consider moving to Texas. From what I understand, they still do that sort of thing there — outside of Austin, of course. Most Coloradoans would prefer to be a bit more ... reserved. So no, this election was not a clarion call for toting any kind of firearm, anywhere, any time.
On the other hand, it was a recognition that where guns are concerned, a single-party Democrat state government went off the deep end. If you have an automatic rifle or pistol, have a good look at the magazine. About 90 percent of them have removable base plates, so they may be properly cleaned and lubricated. That also makes them illegal by the letter of law, since they are, by definition “expandable” to exceed the current 15-round limit. And while Attorney General Suthers has issued “technical guidance” on enforcing HB 13-1224 which essentially says the law does not say what it says, and that enforcement will be based on determining the “intent” of a piece of metal or plastic, there are no instructions on how to do this. Perhaps law enforcement officers will be given special powers of clairvoyance.
Transfer of firearms presents similar problems. Responsible gun owners who are being flooded out — in Lyons, say — might want to secure their firearms with a friend rather than leaving them to be swept away or stolen. But if any transfer is for more than three days, a background check of the recipient is now required, on penalty of law.
Both of these new regulations represent an all-too-common kind of stupid: feel-good legislation drawn up by those who know little about the mechanics of what they are regulating, but are in a blind panic to do so, that they might be seen “doing something” about a problem, real or not. But there is far more to these recalls than mere embarrassment over two legislators’ ignorance.
What happened in Pueblo and Colorado Springs was not primarily a Republican victory. Although Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call has made much of the humiliating losses by two prominent Democrats, the state party came late to the festivities and donated relatively little. In Pueblo, the early heavy lifting was done by three plumbers who were evidently fed up not only with their senator’s politics, but with her in-your-face behavior and her disdain for anyone who did not share her vision of Leftopia. Nor were they alone: 20 percent of the petitioners who initiated the recall were Democrats.
Memo to the Colorado GOP: when 20 percent of those trying to remove a legislator from office are members of her own party, it’s not time to “go along to get along.” It’s time to yell “aux barracades!” and start building bridges to those who might share most of your values. Who knows? Colorado might not be as blue a shade of purple as Denver Democrats think. Yes, some discomfort might be involved. But to govern, one must first be elected.
Memo to Colorado’s Democrat party: when 20 percent of those trying to remove one of your legislators from office are members of your own party, you have some things to think about — starting with why you got this spanking. There’s more to our state than the Denver-Boulder axis, and the Coloradoans who live elsewhere aren’t rubes and hicks because they have priorities other than yours. You need to listen when they speak, even if it’s something you don’t want to hear. If you don’t, they’ll find someone who will.
Memo to Michael Bloomberg: you may think Colorado’s for sale, but apparently it’s only for rent. Sometimes basic ideas — freedom, for example, or constitutionally-protected rights — are more powerful than your purse; these recall elections were two of those times. We aren’t, nor do we want to be, New York City west.
Memo to the Libertarian party: by siphoning votes away from his Republican opponent, you made John Morse’s re-election and Senate presidency possible. Now that your foolishness has been undone, you might think on the negative impact of clinging to dogma instead of working toward political rapprochement with people who believe 85 percent of what you do.
And since the 2014 election season is already looming, better think fast.
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County.