The state of Colorado is a pretty good test case for what happens to the crime rate when elected officials adopt an anti-gun ideology instead of an anti-crime mentality. Since 2013 the Democrats in control of the state have enacted universal background checks, a ban on “large capacity” magazines, “red flag” laws, and storage mandates while repealing the state’s firearm preemption law and allowing localities to impose their own gun control restrictions, including bans on modern sporting rifles. And every year since 2013, violent crime in the state has increased.
In fact, between 2019 and 2020, violent crime grew in Colorado at almost twice as much as it did nationally, which is a pretty good sign that the state’s gun control laws aren’t doing a damn thing to prevent acts of violence. And as CBS4 in Denver recently reported, while the Democrats in control of the state capitol keep slapping more gun control laws on the books, many suspects in violent crimes are being released from jail on low or no bond only to be arrested and accused of committing more acts of violence within a short period of time.
A months-long investigation by CBS4 found, this year alone, more than 4,000 defendants in felony cases have received $1 or $2 bonds, if any at all. Most of them are getting Personal Recognizance or PR bonds that allow defendants to get out without posting bond. They just have to promise to return for their next court appearance. Some of them, like Stephanie Martinez, are leaving court only to be re-arrested for worse crimes.
Martinez is charged with beating 80-year-old George Black to death. He was attacked while feeding pigeons outside the state Capitol in May of last year.
A felon with a history of violence going back more than a decade, Martinez had been charged in two separate assaults just two months before the murder and released by Denver County Court on probation in the first case, a PR bond in the second.
“This person has problems. This person should not be on the street,” says John Stewardson, Black’s nephew.
He says his uncle should still be alive today, “Letting people revolve through the door when a crime is done helps absolutely no one and ends up hurting people just like it hurt my uncle.”
According to CBS4, Martinez’s case isn’t uncommon. The news outlet found thousands of other cases in Denver where those accused of crimes ranging from kidnapping to sexual assault of a child have been allowed to walk free after handing over a dollar or two, and many of them are now accused of committing additional crimes while out on bond.
Six months after Tonell Love received a PR bond for assault, he was charged with stabbing a man to death. Two months after Joseph Topping received a $1 bond for illegal possession of a gun, police say he shot into a crowd and killed a person.
When CBS4 shared the findings with Denver Public Safety Manager Murphy Robinson and Denver Police Chief Paul Pazen, they were stunned.
“We’re not talking about low-level property crimes by any means. These are serious, violent felons and we need some level of accountability in these cases,” Pazen said.
Robinson says it’s a failure of the justice system, “I’ve been hearing about this issue anecdotally for some time. I personally have had trouble getting a lot of the data.”
What he knew is that 45% of felons arrested for illegal gun possession were receiving low or no bond. What he didn’t know is those cases were the tip of the iceberg, “I am shocked with some of the data that’s been presented to me. It is 10 times more than I ever thought.”
I don’t know why either of these officials would be shocked by this, given that it’s the entirely predictable result of Democratic governance over the past decade. While Colorado’s Democrats have imposed more and more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms, they’ve also been busy passing criminal justice measures, including reducing the sentences for misdemeanor crimes. Some of these reforms may indeed be necessary, but overall Democrats appear to be far more concerned with the wellbeing of those convicted of violent crimes than with their victims or the safety of the general public.
The sad thing is that given the leftward drift of Colorado’s politics, I don’t think the CBS4 report is going to lead to any substantive change. Crime’s been steadily rising for almost a decade in Colorado while the right to keep and bear arms has been steadily eroded, and so far voters have continued to reward the Democratic politicians responsible for both travesties.