Rant: Pro-Gun GOP Reps Need More Nuance

I guess we shouldn’t be surprised. When pro-Second Amendment activists leveraged their outrage last year over Colorado’s new gun laws to get two Democratic state senators recalled, we should have expected that this year’s legislative session would involve continued attempts to overturn the statutes.

What is surprising is how clumsily these folks have gone about it so far. First, recall election winner George Rivera from Pueblo introduced a bill that would repeal universal background checks, even though as of last year, more than 90 percent of Americans supported them. (Not only that, Colorado’s new law appears to be working.)

Then this week, State Senator Bernie Herpin was criticized after suggesting that it might have been fortuitous that James Holmes was using a 100-round magazine during the Aurora theater massacre. Herpin’s comments came during a debate over another bill designed to repeal the high-capacity magazine ban enacted last year, and his apparent logic is that these magazines tend to jam more than their lower-capacity counterparts. That the makers of such magazines are presumably trying to remedy this problem didn’t enter into his argument.

Like I said, it’s no surprise that politicians who rode into office on the coattails of pro-gun activists would make protecting guns their number one priority. But going for full repeals from the get-go—neither of the efforts even made it out of committee—is like trying to play Chopin before you’ve mastered Chopsticks.

On the other hand, if you elect a one-note politician, you get a one-note legislator. That’s why this session will likely see more of these ham-handed attempts—rather than sensible and thoughtful debates—aimed at reversing our new gun laws. As some polls have suggested, Colorado voters are split on at least a few of them, but if the GOP wants to make headway with voters statewide, it must, as always, rein in its extremists.

Rave: Mayor Hancock, Others Support You Can Play

In yet another development that’s sure to rile up the narrow minded, Denver’s Michael Hancock this week became the first mayor in the United States to film a video for the You Can Play Project. You Can Play is a national organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ athetes at all levels of sports by educating people about and eliminating discrimination.

Mayor Hancock joins local athletes such as the Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried, Randy Foye, and Quincy Miller; the Avs’ Gabriel Landeskog; and high schoolers from Denver East, Mountain Vista, Regis Jesuit, and others in voicing their support for equality. Now that University of Missouri football player Michael Sam has made his groundbreaking announcement, the more prominent Denverites who openly reject discrimination in all its forms and demand equality, the quicker such ideals will become reality.

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Follow 5280 articles editor Luc Hatlestad on Twitter at @LucHatlestad.