Why Republicans Bear Responsibility for Colorado’s Anti-Gun Laws

Colorado’s Republican leaders fought valiantly against the anti-gun bills promoted by the Democrats. And yet, as angry as I am with the Democrats—including Governor Hickenlooper, who just this morning signed into law the ambiguously drafted, rights-violating gun magazine restrictions and the registration requirement for all gun purchases—the simple fact is that Republicans bear much of the responsibility for the passage of these bills.

By promoting rights-violating policies of their own, Republicans did two things that brought about passage of the anti-gun laws. First, they handed Democrats all the arguments used to restrict gun sales and use. Second, they handed Democrats control over every branch of Colorado government by alienating most Interior West voters.

When Democrats pass anti-gun bills, that’s just Democrats being Democrats. As State Senator Evie Hudak made clear, Democrats think that individuals are too stupid and irresponsible to make their own decisions and lead their own lives, so therefore Democrats must step in and control people’s lives for them. No surprise there. So it is the Republicans, who very often pretend to champion individual liberty and free markets, who are the real disappointment. Consider some examples.

The Drug War

We know that Democrats want to outlaw so-called “high-capacity gun magazines,” however defined. But Republicans hardly put themselves in a position to complain.

Last fall, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, allowing possession of low-capicity bags of marijuana. Many Republicans fought against not only high-capacity bags of marijuana, but low-capacity bags as well. Why? Like their ideological brothers in the Democratic Party, these Republicans think that individuals are just too stupid and irresponsible to make their own decisions and lead their own lives, so therefore politicians and bureaucrats must tell people what to do—and throw them in jail if they stray from that path.

And yet let’s compare the two items. If someone consumes marijuana, about the worst thing he’s likely to do is sit on the couch and munch Doritos. Sure, he’d endanger others by driving or operating other heavy machinery, but the same goes for alcohol. On the other hand, a criminal who obtains a gun magazine actually can kill a lot of people with it. So when Republicans advocate the prohibition of  high-capacity and low-capacity bags of marijuana, but say they’re all for “high-capicity” gun magazines, their arguments ring hollow with hypocrisy.

Amendment 64 also legalized hemp  under Colorado law. Why have Republicans opposed the legalization of hemp? Quite simply because the hemp plant looks like the type of marijuana plant that contains the drug TCH. The party that wants to ban the sale and possession of plants based on what they look like, is hardly in a position to offer any serious protest when Democrats want to ban so-called “assault weapons” based on what they look like.

 Abortion

Likewise, the party that wants to throw my wife in prison for seeking an abortion—even in cases of rape and risks to her health—for buying the “wrong” sorts of birth control, and for seeking the “wrong” sorts of fertility treatments, is hardly in a position to complain when the Democrats want to throw my wife (and me) in jail for trading the “wrong” gun magazines.

The Democrats honed their strategy of attacking Republicans as waging a “war on women” right here in Colorado, starting with Ken Buck, the U.S. Senate candidate who endorsed the anti-abortion “personhood” measure before backing away from it. Colorado now has three sitting members of Congress who have supported the same nonsense. And even now Rand Paul is floating a nationwide “personhood” measure (although not consistently).

Not only are anti-abortion Republicans wrong in the issue, they have destroyed the dominance once held by Republicans in this state.

 Gay Rights

Republicans who oppose equal protection under the law for gay couples, hardly can seriously complain when Democrats deny gun owners equal protection under the law.

As a political strategy, nothing could have been stupider than for the GOP to agitate wealthy, technologically savvy gay men—Jared Polis is worth $160 million, while Tim Gill is worth $400 million. And these men have helped bankroll the Democratic takeover of Colorado.

And look how Republicans handle arguments about things like gay marriage and civil unions. Colorado’s gay speaker of the house, Mark Ferrandino, said the civil unions bill is “about love, it’s about family, and it’s about equality under the law.” What did the Republicans argue? Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono said, “What this bill is about, really, is the Bible. Is it right or wrong?”

In other words, one side makes plausible moral arguments and argues equality under the law; the other side invoked ancient mythology and ghost stories. (Some Republicans did support the bill; they’re excluded from the criticisms of this section. Please note that I don’t support every aspect of the bill, although I do support gay marriage.)

The Democrats have proudly assumed the mantle of the party of reason, while the Republicans have proudly surrendered that mantle. So, when the Democrats pretend that all they want are “reasonable, common-sense gun restrictions,” their claims have a superficial plausibility, thanks to the faith-based claims typical of Republicans.

 Immigration

Many Republicans support federal background checks for employment. Can they seriously oppose federal background checks for gun sales? Such Republicans are ridiculous.

Many Republicans openly and loudly endorse government action to blatantly violate the rights of business owners to freely negotiate labor contracts. The injustices of such Republican policies dwarf the rights violations of the Democrats with respect to gun sales.

The Republicans tell business owners, “You may not hire undocumented Mexicans to manufacture large gun magazines.” The Democrats merely add, “You may not hire Americans, either.”

* * *

As I tell my friends, Democrats have not won a single important election in Colorado in many years. The trouble is that Republicans find a way to lose every important election (a few safe seats aside). How do Republicans manage this?

To a large degree, the Colorado GOP has been the party that wants to throw women in prison for controlling their own bodies, the party that’s hostile to homosexuals, and party that’s hostile to immigrants.

Colorado Republicans have developed a reputation—largely earned—for being the anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-women party, and then Republicans stand around after getting their asses kicked, election after election, scratching their heads and wondering what happened.

So, yes, the Democrats deserve blame and condemnation for ramming through the anti-gun laws. But, really, they’re just following in Republican footsteps. Perhaps this loss will serve as a wake-up call for Republicans to change their path.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

5 thoughts on “Why Republicans Bear Responsibility for Colorado’s Anti-Gun Laws”

  1. The only point I can disagree on is abortion. I would love to know how someone be pro choice but not pro choice on guns. I would also like to know when it’s NOT okay to have an abortion. Example: A woman is about to give birth and decides she doesn’t want the child anymore, is that okay?

  2. So long as the Democrats are united against divided conservative resistance, then we can expect more undesirable laws in this same vein. I think this article accurately states the reasons for this conservative divide, and he may have even left some reasons out. However, the author’s argument is facile. He assumes only he and others of like mind on these social issues have reason to leave the GOP. That shoe could easily be on the other foot. To wit, what happens if pro-legalized abortion, pro-legalized drugs, pro-legalized gay marriage voices controlled the agenda in the Colorado GOP instead of social conservatives (to the extent that they even do)? It’s not a stretch to assume social conservatives, who have as strong a desire to want their views represented in the political process, would feel just as alienated as he does and in turn likely leave the GOP. It’s a zero sum game that’s being played here, unless a split party is the objective.

  3. Whether you believe in Christianity or any of a thousand other religions isn’t the point. The point is why do you want government involved in your marriage? Why is marriage a concern of government?

  4. Why is ANYTHING a concern of government? I think it’s a discussion worth having but it’s hard to argue that it’s not in society’s best interests to have stable family units within which to raise children. Certainly one can argue that homosexual couples can have a stable relationship but I think it would be quite a stretch to say children don’t do better with a mom and dad in an equally stable relationship. Government promotes such relationships with tax breaks, social security benefits, etc. that have not been available to homosexual “couples” and I for one think that’s good public policy. I don’t think it’s good policy for govt. to promote homosexuality. And religious beliefs aside, I don’t see the merit in overturning centuries of custom to adopt a model that we have no idea what the consequences will be. Lastly, I think it’s a terrible mistake to think we know better than God.

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