Why "no compromise" on guns isn't a bad thing

AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File

In the debate over guns, there are a lot of us that take a “no compromise” position on gun rights. We’re not interested in giving up any ground, in part because those who came before us did and nothing good came of those actions.

But the folks at Salon decided to dig up a little history to talk about the whole “no compromise” thing.

Cole Wist was a Republican state House member in Colorado with an A grade from the NRA. Then, in 2018, he supported a red flag law, sponsoring a bill to allow guns to be taken away — temporarily — from people who pose an immediate threat to themselves or others.

Wist lost his seat in the legislature that year in the face of an intense backlash from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, a gun rights organization in Colorado that boasts it accepts “no compromise” as it battles “the gun grabbers.” The group campaigned against him, distributing flyers and referring to him on social media as “Cole the Mole.”

What was the reaction from the GOP leadership to your sponsorship of the red flag bill?

I was the assistant minority leader in the state House at that point. There was an effort to strip me of that leadership post. That effort failed. I think there’s some reluctance in Republican circles here to take on groups like the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners for fear of getting primaried, for fear of having them work against you. And I suppose people may look at my experience as being something that deters them from even having conversations. I introduced a bill that was very controversial. In those circles, even being open to conversations about gun policy or gun safety legislation creates risk for folks in Republican circles here. So, if your objective is to stay in office for a long time and continue to get reelected … you don’t cross that line.

The problem is that Salon didn’t bother to look at why there’s a problem with red flag laws in the first place, why people took issue with Wist’s bill.

See, for most, the issue with red flag laws isn’t that they take guns from people who are deemed to be dangerous, it’s the manner in which that determination is made. With red flag laws, the person is determined to be a threat by a judge who has never laid eyes on the individual in question. They’re not in the courtroom. They don’t get to face their accuser. On every level, it violates due process rights.

Wist’s bill was much of the same. It allowed people to make claims about someone and then have a judge order their guns to be taken without a shred of evidence needing to be presented.

Yes, it’s a temporary thing, at least in theory, but then the individual has to basically argue their own innocence–something else people aren’t supposed to have to do in a court of law.

Further, Wist’s bill sought to remove the guns, but did nothing about the individual themselves. That means it left this supposedly dangerous person on the streets so they could do whatever they wanted, they just couldn’t have a gun.

They could have a knife, of course, or a car or all kinds of things that could be turned into a bomb, but they didn’t have a gun so literally nothing else mattered.

Salon was so fixated on the “no compromise” portion that they didn’t bother to ask if there were any real issues with what Wist proposed. There were.

Of course, many of us do take a “no compromise” stand, but people like the folks at Salon don’t bother to reach out and ask us about that, either. They never bother to learn that we’ve watched gun control keep creeping on and how we’re told if we compromise, all will be better, but that we’re literally the only ones giving anything up.

Maybe if the gun control crowd didn’t have their own version of “no compromise” where the only thing they give up as not taking as much as they like, some on this side of the debate might have been more open to the idea.

Even Wist’s.