Colorado Sending Seriously Mixed Signals on Guns

AP Photo/Philip Kamrass, File

Colorado used to be a pretty pro-gun state. Then it started embracing gun control, passing magazine restrictions and other anti-gun measures, continuing to pass them up until now and likely beyond.


Yet, something strange is going on there and I'm not completely sure how to feel about it.

As Cam noted on Monday, while looking at new anti-gun rules, many of those have about as minimal a penalty as they could manage. That's weird for a state that thinks guns are a massive scourge that needs to be addressed. They're bad and they think people shouldn't have them, but they won't do anything to those who have them illegally.


And that's not the only mixed signal they're sending, either.

he Colorado lawmakers who write the state’s budget rejected a request from the governor and attorney general to hire a group of lawyers to be loaned out to the federal government to prosecute gun crimes in federal court.

The Joint Budget Committee voted twice earlier this month to reject the proposal, which would have set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire as many as four attorneys, as it finalized the budget for debate before the full legislature in the coming weeks. 

The latest vote to sideline the request was 3-3, with Democratic Rep. Emily Sirota of Denver joining the two Republicans on the JBC last week to block the spending. (Tie votes on the JBC result in proposals being rejected.)

“We have limited resources to spread across the state to meet a whole variety of needs,” Sirota told The Colorado Sun. “We have a lot of needs to meet in the state and funding federal positions — I had to prioritize our dollars.”

The request was aimed in part in filling a void left after the legislature in recent years rolled back a blanket prohibition barring people convicted of felonies from possessing guns. Instead, only those convicted of committing the state’s most serious felonies, like murder, rape, assault, robbery, arson and child abuse, are now prohibited from having a firearm. Felony convictions for drug crimes and car theft, for instance, no longer trigger the ban. The legislation was part of broader criminal justice reforms at the Capitol aimed at reducing incarceration.

Under federal law, however, a person convicted of any felony is still barred from buying or possessing a firearm or ammunition and faces a 10-year prison sentence if found guilty. 


Now, I get that resources are limited, but if you honestly believe that guns are this great scourge and that people should be prohibited from having certain firearms, why aren't you at least helping the feds prosecute people who break federal gun control?

Honestly, I'm blaming legalized marijuana for this.

While I don't support pot being illegal and don't like gun control laws that keep people who comply with state marijuana laws from owning firearms, it's also a drug not known for enhancing people's intelligence.

The state known for legalizing it for recreational use first is also passing gun control laws that make no sense at all.

If Missouri decided not to fund the prosecution of federal gun control violations, that would make sense. They basically tried to nullify them--not quite, but in practice, it wouldn't look much different--so a refusal to help prosecute them would be on-brand for the state.

Colorado likes gun control.

Yet as Cam noted, they don't believe in locking up criminals, which means they think things should be illegal but that there really shouldn't be any penalties to speak of. Many of these are, practically speaking, fines in the making. All that means is legal for a price and we all know it.

I don't like gun control, but I really don't get how any state can embrace gun control so vehemently, and then basically do everything they can to make it not work. I mean, it wouldn't anyway, but it's clear Colorado lawmakers disagree.


Well, it would be clear if they actually acted like they wanted to punish criminals.

Instead, they're really just feeding into the thought that this is really about punishing the law-abiding who have done nothing wrong. After all, if they won't go after the criminals, what other conclusions can we draw?

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