In 2012 Democrats were able to sway enough low information voters to gain a majority in both Houses of the Legislature. Since they already had the governorship, they were ready to roll. After defeating a jobs bill for southeast Colorado and ensuring that sex offenders would not be inconvenienced by mandatory jail terms, they proceeded on to their Holy Grail of “gun control.”
A package of four bills was introduced into the House. These bills were as follows:
House Bill 1224– Bans magazines with a capacity greater than fifteen rounds.
House Bill 1226 – Repeals current law allowing individuals with a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm for self-defense on a college or university campus.
House Bill 1228 – Imposes a “gun tax” for a background check when purchasing a firearm.
House Bill 1229– Criminalizes the private transfer of a firearm.
As I was unable to attend in person, I watched and listened to the Judiciary Committee hearings on Tuesday and the Committee of the Whole on Friday. Here is what I learned in those two days.
HB 1224 began with a ten (10) round limit on magazines. After hearing supporters of the bill in one hour and some of the opponents in two and a half hours, the committee felt that by increasing the arbitrary number of 10 to the arbitrary number of 15 everyone would be adequately able to defend themselves and their families under any circumstance. Unfortunately, they failed to realize that they effectively limited future owners of handguns in the Glock 17 (factory mag capacity of 17) and Springfield Armory XD (factory mag capacity of 16) to 10 rounds. Most of the firearms companies have already informed New York state that they will not manufacture magazines specifically to meet New York’s new improved gun laws, so I sincerely doubt that they will do so to meet Colorado’s new improved gun laws. If a current owner of a magazine in excess of 15 rounds decides to sell or trade the weapon it is made for, he must maintain possession of or destroy those magazines and the new owner will only be able to purchase 10 round magazines.
In passing this bill Democrats also demonstrated that they have no regard for Colorado business or jobs. Pmag Corp. announced that since originally there was no exemption for possession during the manufacturing process they would be forced to take their 200 jobs and likely 700 indirect jobs would follow to a more gun friendly state. After an exemption was implemented, Pmag announced that they still would be leaving the state since they would be unable to supply standard capacity magazines to residents of their home state. The company had been in negotiations for expanded facilities prior to the introduction of these bills, Late Friday Alfred Manufacturing, a supplier to Pmag also looking to expand in the state, announced they would be taking their operations out of the state.
HB 1226 basically tells university employees and students with Concealed Carry Permits that although you may be a wonderful person off campus, the moment you set foot on our campus you become an untrustworthy blood-thirsty monster. Nothing else needs or can be said about this bill.
HB 1228 is an unconstitutional tax on law abiding gun owners, since the bad guys will never submit themselves to a background check (BGC). Republicans introduced an amendment that would exempt anyone earning below the federal poverty line from paying the fee. It was voted down by the Democrats. This is not just for sales but for any transfer and these are outlined in HB 1229. For most of the life of InstaCheck, Coloradans have not been charged for the government mandated BGC. Last year the legislature tried to turn the checks back to the FBI as is done in most states for free, but the opportunity was turned down. Interestingly enough, the BGC backlog that since Christmas has ranged from 8-12,000 and caused consistent 7-9 day waits was reduced to 0 (zero) from Tuesday to Friday the week of the hearings. There were also questions concerning why the CBI budget for BGC’s was going to nearly triple from the current $1.4 million to approximately $4 million next year.
HB1229 mandates background checks for private “transfers.” Under this bill you can gift a weapon (but not with a magazine in excess of 15 rounds) to spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents and grandchildren without a BGC. However, if the same gun is sold to one of these persons a BGC is required. There is no provision for exempted transfers to step-children, step-siblings or half siblings, etc. If a neighbor (whom you know to be of excellent character) or a son-in-law wants to borrow a firearm to go hunting or target shooting and you can not go with them the transfer then requires the BGC fee and the dealer fee ($10 each). When the firearm is returned the process is repeated and another $20.00 is charged. Same thing is mandated if someone you care for (but can not afford to purchase a firearm and lives at another address) believes themselves to be in danger and you want to loan them a firearm for their protection. There is a provision if they are in imminent danger, but it requires the transfer be made at your residence. Do the writers of this bill understand the concept of imminent danger? There are numerous other faults in this bill that will only make it much more difficult for law abiding gun owners to remain law abiding.
CBI will be funded for an additional 27.4 FTE’s in the BGC division this year and an additional 30 or more next year.
There a some good parts to HB1229. Most of these deal with reporting of mental health issues and arrest/conviction statuses to the NICS system. These may actually help keep firearms out of the hands of the deranged and felons, if they are enforced instead of being ignored by federal agencies as many of current laws are.
Many times during the hearings Democrat sponsors and speakers were heard to effectively say, “We don’t know if this will work, but we have to try something.” The passage of these bills will serve no purpose other than making it much harder for law abiding citizens to follow the law. It will have very little effect on those determined to commit gun violence, the bills’ intended purpose.
In the likelihood that some of these bills pass the House, we law abiding gun owners will still have options to restore our Second Amendment Rights.
Will we have the determination?
By Alan Stump
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