Colorado Proposals Undermine Anti-Preemption Arguments

AP Photo/Alan Diaz, File

A lot of states have preemption laws, including a few that are leaning more and more toward being anti-gun. That means preemption is going to be removed at some point in the not too distant future unless something profound happens in those states.


It already happened in Colorado, for example.

The typical anti-gun argument against such laws is that they prohibit local control. They don’t let local communities determine what level of gun control works best for them.

That’s exactly what they said in Colorado, but new gun control proposals show just how much they lied about what they desired.

Fewer than three years ago, Sen. Sonja Jaquez Lewis of Longmont, Sen. Chris Kolker of Littleton and Sen. Tom Sullivan of Centennial, all Democrats, voted with their party to blow up Colorado’s long-standing law which ensured a predictable, statewide approach to firearm regulation. Senate Bill 21-256, passed by all Democrats, created a patchwork of local gun laws that create confusion for law-abiding gun owners. The change in the law did not change the behavior of gun-toting criminals, but that is not the goal of the modern Democrat blame-the-guns approach to governance. Purportedly libertarian-ish Democrat Gov. Jared Polis signed the bill into law without hesitation.

SB 21-256 made clear the General Assembly believes “(o)fficials of local governments are uniquely equipped to make determinations as to regulations necessary in their local jurisdictions” and “to make determinations as to where concealed handguns can be carried in their local jurisdictions….”

Fewer than 30 months later — and without any data to support a change — Jacquez Lewis, Kolker and Sullivan have changed their minds and now believe local governments are too stupid to determine what laws are necessary in their communities and too untrustworthy to determine where concealed handguns can be carried. No legislator has yet explained what happened to the “uniquely equipped” local governments. Once again, Democrats show up to save the day with a solution in search of a problem.

Sans any data — let alone new data justifying the need for change — the bill drafters hijack local control of the regulation of firearms at parks, playgrounds, rec centers, stadiums for any sport and at every level of competition, amusement parks, carnivals, circuses, water parks and any property in any way connected to local government — or the grounds next to it. No joke.


Basically, these lawmakers want to step in and determine what constitutes a sensitive area at the statewide level rather than allow local governments to make that decision based on their own needs and issues.

In other words, local governments should be able to make their own decisions about guns unless they, personally, decide they might to it wrong.

It was never about local control, no matter how they tried to frame their opposition to preemption. It was about removing literally any barriers that might inhibit gun control.

Preemption means local governments can’t pass their own restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. It doesn’t stop the state from doing so, just cities and counties.

Removing it, claiming that lawmakers respected these local governments, wasn’t anything to do with federalist tendencies or respect for local officials. It was just in hopes that particularly anti-gun cities would pass new gun control laws over and above what the state could get away with enacting.

In short, they lied to the people.

What’s more, they expect us to keep happily swallowing those lies time and time again.

We won’t.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member