The state of Colorado seemed to be pretty pro-gun not all that long ago. Granted, the years are coming faster now for me than they used to, so it doesn’t feel like the 11 years since it happened, but it still wasn’t terribly long ago.
Then things started going south for gun rights groups in the state. More and more gun control started coming down the pipe.
When Californians started fleeing their old state, coming to Colorado, and pushing for the same laws that made them want to leave in the first place, well, it seemed the state was doomed.
Yet there seems to be a lot more hope as gun rights advocates recognize the battleground they can win on.
Just a decade ago, gun control debates at the state Capitol have come with high drama – long days of passionate testimony and loud protests.
But this year, as the statehouse’s majority Democrats pushed through yet another slate of tougher gun laws, the hearings were relatively quiet, and the opponents who came to testify were fewer than they’ve ever been in years past.
“We knew that we didn’t have the votes,” said Taylor Rhodes, the head of the gun rights advocacy group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
Rhodes said he didn’t monitor the bills’ progress or lobby lawmakers at the state Capitol on a daily basis like he has in past years. And while he did organize a grassroots effort for people to call and email their representatives, he didn’t encourage members of his organization to show up in droves to testify and put pressure on lawmakers.
But that doesn’t mean Rhodes is in any way resigned to letting these policies go into effect. In fact, his group may be on the verge of its biggest victories ever – not at the Capitol, but in the courts.
“I made a promise to my members that I was going to sue as soon as these went into law. I don’t think that they took it as literal as I meant it. Because of course, we did sue before the ink was dry on the governor’s desk.”
And, honestly, there’s no reason not to take that approach.
Look, when you’re outnumbered, you can’t fight the way your opponent does. You can’t try and win in a straight-up political battle; not when they have the votes locked up and you don’t.
So, you take a tip from pretty much anyone who has written about war and choose the battlefield that will favor you the most.
In the United States post-Bruen, that most definitely means the courts.
While a lot of gun control advocates are tripping over themselves to try and find historical analogs for the policies they favor, that’s not nearly as easy as some might like for you to believe.
Since Colorado gun rights groups simply don’t have the numbers to win in the legislature, taking things to court where they have the advantage is just plain smart.
And let’s be real here, Colorado is an illustration of what needs to happen in every anti-gun state for every anti-gun regulation on the books. It’s expensive, but the reward is also high.
If we do it enough, gun control gets minimized forever.