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Colorado Gun Policy: Changing for the Worse

By: José Niño

Gun control is alive and well in 2020. In nearly all competitive states, gun control interest groups are targeting certain races to prop-up candidates whom they believe will faithfully advance their anti-Second Amendment agenda.

Colorado is one state where Gun Control Inc. is confident in flipping a Senate seat into the blue column. In the last decade, Colorado has shifted blue at both the state and federal levesl. Gun policy has seen substantial changes ever since universal background checks and magazine capacity limits were passed in 2013.

Later on, in 2019, Colorado passed red flag gun confiscations orders. This marks a clear trend toward gun control that the anti-gun lobby sees as something to exploit for 2020 and beyond. To give readers some perspective, Colorado was one the first states in the country to pass university campus carry in 2003, not too long after the Columbine massacre. Gun politics in Colorado has clearly shifted for the worse in the last decade or so.

Colorado may continue its descent down the gun control abyss with the election between incumbent Republican Sen. Cory Gardner and his Democrat challenger John Hickenlooper. The latter was the Democrat governor of Colorado from 2011 to 2019, who ushered in the aforementioned universal background check and magazine ban legislation. Now, he looks to take his gun-grabbing to the Senate with the help of Giffords Law Center, one of the fastest-growing civilian disarmament lobbies in the nation.

Joanna Belanger, Giffords’ political director, has been quite explicit about her organization’s desire to oust Cory Gardner. She declared that Giffords has been involved in a “years-long effort to make sure that Gardner doesn’t serve another term.” In terms of monetary injections, Giffords allocated $1.3 million in the 2020 election cycle against Gardner. This money was directed toward running TV and digital ads, along with hosting rallies in Colorado in support of Hickenlooper. Giffords is not alone. Everytown for Gun Safety, a Bloomberg-funded gun control outfit, spent $1 million in the Rocky Mountain state.

What is rather interesting is that Hickenlooper has not been as forceful in promoting gun control on the 2020 election trail. This may be a ploy to assuage suburban voters who are not exactly giddy about radical gun-grabbing policy that usually belongs to urban enclaves in California and New York. In a report by the Colorado Sun, Jesse Paul observed that, “[W]hen he jumped from the presidential race to the U.S. Senate contest last year, [Hickenlooper] deprioritized some of his big plans for increasing firearms regulations.”

Hickenlooper’s track record as governor speaks for itself, however. What’s more, his senate campaign websitestates that he would push for universal background checks, red flag gun confiscation orders, and magazine limits. He has also has a desire to revive the congressional assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

“Things like universal background checks — they’re so overdue,” Hickenlooper said during a virtual event. “We’ve lost too many friends and neighbors — too many children — to gun violence here in Colorado. And the loss of life is devastating.”

Indeed, Hickenlooper’s presidential plan, which he published back in May 2019, pushed for a national gun licensing program, along with a requirement for new gun owners to take gun safety and storage training. On top of that, Hickenlooper, advocated for raising the age to buy firearms in 21 and revealed his wish to establish a waiting period for gun purchases.

Hickenlooper has since moderated his stances for political purposes, but it’s still apparent based on his actions as governor and endorsement from Giffords that he is no friend of gun owners. Pro-Second Amendment activists in Colorado understand what’s at stake and view Hickenlooper as an existential threat to gun owners in the state.

Gunpowder Magazine was able to talk to Taylor Rhodes, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), about his thoughts on the 2020 election in Colorado. Rhodes observed:

Yet again, Colorado is being looked at as a testing ground for the radical left’s gun control plans, but this time the anti-gun lobby is using Hickenlooper to push nationwide gun controls that mimic the anti-gun bills he signed in 2013 while he was governor.

Groups such as RMGO are looking ahead to future elections which could have potential implications about where the state’s politics will go. Rhodes highlighted some of RMGO’s tentative plans:

2020 is a strange year, and we are looking down the barrel of redistricting in two years, but we also don’t want to give up any more ground to the left. We have the opportunity to take back two or three seats from the Dems in the house, and in the Senate, we need to hold on to the folks we have and gear up for 2022.

Colorado is quickly spiraling into the control of the left. But in politics, anything is possible if you have the right political operatives and dedication toward fighting back. Gun owners should definitely keep their eyes peeled on the political developments taking place in the Rocky Mountain state in the next decade or so and prepare themselves.

José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at joseinpolitics@gmail.com. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.

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