Colorado

Cross-country elections hail defeat for Bloombergism

Although he wasn’t on the ballot anywhere last night, Michael Bloomberg, outgoing mayor of New York, anti-gun nut, “No Labels” doublespeaker, and everyone’s favorite Nanny-in-Chief, was handed several stinging defeats from his backyard in New York to the mountain west.

In the most direct challenge, Bill de Blasio, Democrat candidate for mayor in New York City, won a clear plurality and avoided a runoff with the #2 Democrat candidate, Bill Thompson. De Blasio ran as an outspoken “progressive alternative to the Bloomberg era.”

In the Republican primary, Bloomberg’s preferred candidate, Joe Lhota, did manage to win a majority and so also avoid a runoff. However, Lhota’s vote total (29,746 at this writing) was lower than that of the #5 Democrat candidate, Anthony Weiner (31,136 votes). In fact, the total vote in the Democrat primary (634,476) was eleven times larger than that of the Republican primary (56,584). If the general election runs anywhere close to these numbers, de Blasio will win in a landslide. A progressive Democrat becoming mayor of New York is certainly no victory for liberty, but it’s no victory for Bloombergism either.

Colorado legislators facing recall over onerous gun control measures

A couple members of the Colorado legislature are facing a recall over gun control measures — including universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines — passed earlier this year.

Gun rights supporters and groups have organized a recall campaign against Colorado Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and State Sen. Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) for their support of the gun control measures in what the Washington Post calls a “referendum on guns”:

In the wake of mass shootings in suburban Denver and Newtown, Conn., last year, Colorado became one of the few states to pass new gun control legislation. Now, the architects of that legislation face recall elections that have become proxy wars for conservatives angry about the new gun rules, among other liberal initiatives the Democratic-controlled state legislature passed earlier this year.

Colorado town to vote this fall on “drone hunting”

commercial drone

Who’s up for a little drone hunting? The sound of heading out doors to shoot down privacy invasive unmanned-vehicles flying in the sky above is actually appealing. That’s why some in a Colorado town are pushing a measure to be voted on this fall that will allow people to obtain “drone hunting” permits:

For the people of Deer Trail, Colo., November elections usually are reserved for electing town board members and state and federal lawmakers.

But in November, residents of the small town will decide whether to license the nation’s first official “drone hunters.”

On Tuesday night, the town board split evenly, with three members voting “yes” and three voting “no,” on an ordinance that would have made it legal for residents to apply for licenses and then shoot unmanned aerial vehicles out of the sky in exchange for a $100 cash reward.

The controversial measure now will appear on the November ballot, leaving the decision up to voters in the town of about 550 people.

Some Deer Trail officials and residents — along with many others across the nation — fear that the rapid rise of domestic drones poses grave new threats to personal privacy. Echoing the concerns of privacy groups, civil liberties activists and many state and federal lawmakers, those pushing the Deer Trail ordinance argue that citizens must resist the unprecedented surveillance capabilities brought by drones.

States fight back against Obama Administration policies

Don't Tread On Me

There has been somewhat of a revival of nullification over the last few years as governors and state legislatures have pushed back against some of the policies pushed by the Obama Administration. While some may scoff at the idea of nullification, citing federal supremacy over states, Washington has passed a number of laws that have passed on heavy costs to states or trample into areas that should left to their control.

Politico recently highlighted the pushback from states on various policies being pushed by the Obama Administration — including gun control, ObamaCare, and REAL ID — and whether it’s an viable tool to buck federal mandates:

Infuriated by what they see as the long arm of Washington reaching into their business, states are increasingly telling the feds: Keep out!

Bills that would negate a variety of federal laws have popped up this year in the vast majority of states — with the amount of anti-federal legislation sharply on the rise during the Obama administration, according to experts.
[…]
But critics respond that the flood of legislation to override the feds is folly that won’t stand up in court and amounts to a transparent display of the political and personal distaste for President Barack Obama. And in some cases, the moves in the states have provoked an administration counteroffensive: Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Kansas after it passed the Second Amendment Protection Act threatening legal action if necessary to enforce federal laws.

Colorado Democrat Doesn’t Realize Magazines Can Be Reloaded

Diana DeGette

Very rarely do I advocate for stricter requirements on members of Congress; after all, the Constitution already has a set of qualifications that members of Congress must possess in order to serve.  Every once in a while, though, a member of Congress will say or do something that makes me wish that there was an IQ test required.  My two favorite examples are the speech from Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) “gradulating” the Florida Gators on their BCS Championship a few years ago and Rep. Hank Johnson’s (D-GA) fears that Guam may “tip over and capsize” if more Marines are sent there.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) gave them both a run for their money this week, though, with comments on gun control that prove her complete and utter ignorance of the topic at hand.

To preface her comments, keep in mind that Rep. DeGette is the lead sponsor of the Democrat’s bill banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.  That makes her idiocy even more terrifying.

At a Denver Post forum on gun control Tuesday, DeGette was asked how limiting the size of magazines would reduce gun violence.  I’ll just let her comments speak for themselves:

I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those know they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available.

Just Say “No” to Bad, Immoral, and Unjust Laws by Saying “Yes” to Jury Duty

Protest against gun control in Colorado

On Monday the Colorado Senate passed five of the seven proposed gun bills and its expected that Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign them. Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) said in reference to HB 1224, the bill that would limit magazines to 15 rounds: “I will willfully and purposefully and civilly disobey this law.” I think it is safe to say that Sen. Brophy is not alone even though the penalties for breaking some of these laws include jail time and possibly losing any legal right to ever own a firearm again.

What to do now? Its over, right?

Well, obviously the people of Colorado can vote the tyrants out next time around. There’s also the ballot initiative process; there’s already a petition movement in place to undo HB 1224 by putting it to a vote in the next election if enough signatures can be collected in time (which I don’t think will be a problem). Beyond traditional legal remedies, so far 136 companies that sell and/or manufacture firearms, components, ammunition, or accessories have pledged that they will not sell their products to the police or any government entity that will enforce gun laws which, in their judgement, violates 2nd Amendment rights of the people.

All these efforts should be joined, applauded, and encouraged. Next time you want to buy a gun or accessory, you should buy from a company that is on the list and admonish those who haven’t made the pledge to close the “police loophole” to do so (and also, write a short letter of encouragement to those which have already taken this brave step).

A Few Personal Observations From a Contentious Town Hall Meeting

assault weapons

This past Saturday, I decided to meet up with Colorado Libertarian Party members to take part in a town hall meeting at the Smoky Hill Library in Centennial, Colorado. Several members of the state legislature hosted the event: Sen. Nancy Todd (D-Sen. Dist. 28), John Buckner (D-House Dist. 40), and Su Ryden (D-House Dist. 36). Senate Majority Leader, Morgan Carroll (D-Dist.29) was a no show.

When I received the invitation, in my inbox, there were 11 others who RSVP’d to attend the event. I really had no idea if we would be the only individuals in attendance who would challenge these legislators or if we would be in good company. All I knew was all of these legislators would be Democrats in favor of most, if not all, of the gun control measures (at least in principle) being considered at the state capitol. I fully expected that we would be crashing their party.

As it turned out, the Colorado Libertarians who responded to the Meetup invitation were not the only party crashers (I’m not entirely clear on who was part of ‘our group’ and who wasn’t). Before the meeting, several of  us were outside with our pro-gun rights signs. Rep. Ryden and Sen. Todd were kind enough to talk with us briefly before the meeting started.

Just before the meeting started, we were advised to write down our questions on the 3X5 cards the meeting organizers provided to us rather than take random questions from the citizens. As the meeting progressed with a small number of the questions being read, many in attendance were not too pleased with this “I thought this was supposed to be a town hall meeting,” one person complained. About halfway into the meeting after several unsatisfactory answers from the legislators concerning the right to bear arms, one elderly gentleman stormed out.

Gun Control Bill in Colorado Targets Shotguns

In addition to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Assault Weapon Ban, we’ve seen proposals in states throughout the nation.  New York’s has gotten most of the press, because they’ve passed theirs, but Colorado has gotten a good bit of press as well.

Throughout all of this, proponents of the assault weapon bans have tried to lull sportmen into a false sense of safety by arguing that they don’t want to go after hunting weapons, just military pattern rifles that they don’t think belong out in the woods.  However, a glitch in the Colorado bill may ban one of the popular hunting arms out there, the 12 guage shotgun.

[Colorado State Sen. Greg] Brophy points to a section of the bill that defines a high-capacity magazine as one capable of accepting or — that can be readily converted — to accept more than 15 rounds or eight shotgun shells.

“This is where shotgun shells go inside this tube here,” Brophy showed Boyd, “You can screw this part off the top and screw on an extender to this tube to allow it to hold more than eight rounds. It is readily convertible, which by definition in the bill, makes the whole thing a high-capacity magazine.”

Now, this is a pretty significant hiccup, and Brophy makes an excellent point.  It’s a pretty simple fix to extend a shotgun’s tubular magazine, and these aren’t detachable mags we’re talking about here either.  These are relatively fixed magazines that are integral to the weapon itself.

DOJ memo says assault weapons ban “unlikely to have an impact on gun violence”

assault weapons

There has been a substantial amount of gun-related news over the past few days. As it stands right now, President Barack Obama’s gun control measures are stalled in Congress and there is only tepid hope that they’ll be able to break through the legislative stalemate. But that hasn’t stopped gun-grabbers from pushing in the issue in state legislatures.

In Missouri, four Democratic legislators have proposed a bill that would require law-abiding residents of the state to turn in their semi-automatic weapons (so-called “assault weapons”) to law enforcement within 90 days. The Colorado House has passed a measure that would clamp down on the state’s gun laws. That law, by the way, could lead to the loss of hundreds of jobs in the Centennial State.

It gets worse, folks. In Wisconsin, some Democratic legislators are pushing legislation that would ban the sell of certain types of ammunition, including hollow points. And a gun control push in the State of Washington would essentially strip gun owners of their Fourth Amendment rights by allowing police to search homes for semi-automatic weapons.

New Cato Policy Analysis Questions Federal Supremacy on Marijuana Laws

marijuana

Despite threats from the federal government, voters in Colorado and Washington passed, by respectable margins, referenda allowing for the recreational use of marijuana.

The broader battle over federalism is still raging, but the movement toward marijuana legalization is significant. For example, a recent Quinnipiac poll showed that 51% of Americans support legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.

While the Justice Department is still making threats to arrest pot-smokers who ignore federal law, despite the new laws in these states, a new policy analysis from the Cato Institute questions the constitutionality and supremacy of federal involvement in states that try to pass marijuana-use measures.

Robert A. Mikos, who authored the policy analysis, explains, “Although I focus on medical marijuana, the legal analysis applies to any issue pitting permissive state laws against restrictive federal regulations.” According to the Marijuana Policy Project, “32 states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books that recognize marijuana’s medical value.”


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