Thank you for writing to me about firearms legislation. This week I received over 4,000 emails about the bills introduced February 8. While I would like to write each of you individually, the mere volume of emails I received (and am still receiving!) prevents me from doing this. But please know that I have read your concerns, and I am excited to see so many of you involved in the political process.
Most of you wrote to me in opposition to the universal background check for firearms transfers and the limit on ammunition magazine size. Some of you that receive this email wrote in favor of these bills, but the vast majority did not support these pieces of legislation.
Either way, let me explain how I feel about these bills, and why I voted NO against all of them.
I believe that one of the government’s few jobs is to provide safety for all its citizens. This is why we have the police force, fire department, and men and women of our armed forces. Protecting innocent human lives is important. As a former law enforcement official, I experienced first hand the danger that guns can present when in the wrong hands. Criminals have used guns against me, and solely by the grace of God am I here to help craft laws to increase our safety. Guns in the hands of those who wish to do evil can have disastrous consequences on our society, but they also provide safety to those who need to defend themselves when law enforcement cannot help. In all too many situations, the police department cannot get to the scene of a crime before it is tragically too late. Because of this, I believe the government should ensure that citizens have an simple process to acquire weapons for self-protection. Our Nation's Founding Fathers understood this. They knew we have a fundamental need to protect ourselves from two groups — the first group is evil-doers who wish to harm our families. The second group is, in fact, an out of control tyrannical government, just like the one our Founder's fought so valiantly against to give us all freedom and liberty.
House Bill 13-1229, which would require universal background checks on firearms transfers, severely extends the amount of time a person can purchase a gun privately. Now, I understand the opposition’s argument. A criminal can purchase a gun from a law-abiding citizen and commit more crimes. The opposition claims that a universal background check would prevent this. I disagree. Criminals will still avoid the law (by nature of being a criminal) and get access to firearms without a background check. While the drafters of this bill may have good intentions, I think this bill will ultimately harm law abiding citizens and make purchasing a gun for protection more onerous.
House Bill 13-1224 would limit the size of ammunition magazines. I also voted “NO” on this bill. While, again, I believe the sponsors of this bill had good intentions to protect the safety of our citizens, this legislation is misguided at best. Banning large capacity magazines will actually not increase public safety. In fact, it will make us all LESS safe. A practiced criminal can unload a magazine and load a new one in a matter of seconds. For a trained criminal, this bill will not slow the rate of shooting or decrease the devastation caused, but this legislation will make people less able to protect themselves against intruders and assailants against themselves and their families and loved ones - and that is wrong.
The recent tragic shootings are cause for intense concern, no doubt. But rather than legislating to slow the purchase of guns, I believe that allowing our citizens to easily obtain guns for self-protection and the protection of our most valuable asset — our children — is a much better idea. It is also an idea that our Founding Fathers would adhere to as they indicated in the Second Amendment, rights which have recently been upheld and sustained by our United States Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller. I swore an oath to protect and defend our US Constitution and our Colorado Constitution. If I voted any other way but NO on these gun control bills, I would be violating that oath.
For those of you that wrote to me in favor of these bills, I appreciate your input. However, I believe these bills do more harm than good. The public safety of our State and Nation is a discussion we must continue to have and a topic we must act on with certainty. Our action should be focused on the evil-doers, not on just one of the tools they choose to use against us. I hope to continue to offer solutions in the form of better mental health care standards in our state, stricter penalties for violent criminals and better law enforcement response times and stationing in our schools.
Thank you again for writing me. If I can be of any assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact my office.