HYSTERIA TRUMPS SELF-DEFENSE IN GUN DEBATE
By Mark Hillman
Hysteria trumped reason yet again at the State Capitol when a senate committee killed the so-called "Make My Day Better" bill on a party-line vote.
Responsible gun owners regularly find themselves subjected to this kind of treatment by wet-diaper, nanny-state liberals who believe that any Colorado citizen with a gun is barely capable of suppressing some ravenous urge to shoot everyone who casts so much as a cross-eyed glance.
House Bill 1011 was sound and reasonable, extending to workers in a business the right to protect themselves against an imminent criminal threat — the same right that Coloradans have enjoyed in their homes since 1985.
So reasonable, in fact, that Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who sponsored the bill, picked up the support of nine Democrats in addition to all 29 Republicans when the bill passed the House of Representatives.
Unfortunately, the likelihood that the bill would receive similar bipartisan support if it came to a vote in the full Senate no doubt factored prominently in anti-gun Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald's (D-Coal Creek Canyon) decision to assign the bill to the Senate State Affairs Committee where opponents of our Second Amendment rights rule with an iron fist.
There, the bill died on a 3-2 party-line vote with Democrats opposing the right to self-defense and Republicans supporting it.
"What we're trying to do here, I think, is create some street-imposed death penalty … over a Milky Way bar," warned Sen. Peter Groff (D-Denver). The usually more thoughtful Senate president pro tem worried aloud that an irascible store clerk might start gunning down teenagers for talking too loud, wearing their hat backward, or listening to rap music.
That's quite a statement about how some lawmakers view the good judgment of Colorado's working men and women – to suggest that the only thing stopping the average service worker from blasting inconsiderate customers is a state law.
Moreover, the analogy demonstrates a lack of understanding of the plain language of the bill, which stipulates that these protections apply only if the person who poses the threat enters the property unlawfully.
In the House, the condescension was even more insulting with the highly emotive Rep. Gwyn Green (D-Golden) declaring, "We as a country have decided to solve our conflicts with violence. We'll just blow people away."
When did we make that decision? Maybe that was the night I was watching "The Departed"? Maybe Rep. Green should move to another neighborhood, because I can't find any neighbor of mine who has decided to "just blow people away."
House Majority Leader Alice Madden (D-Boulder) personally guaranteed "that (the bill) will be used to legitimize heinous crimes, heinous murders…. I don't want that blood on my hands."
What about the next convenience store clerk who is gunned down by a criminal? Whose hands is her blood on?
Coloradans were confronted with similar knee-jerk hysteria when former Sen. Jim Brandon introduced the original "Make My Day" law 22 years ago. Those predictions never came to fruition.
When Colorado finally passed a uniform statewide right-to-carry law in 2003, the nanny-statists predicted that our communities would look like Dodge City and that minor traffic altercations would erupt into gunfights. But reality and the stable judgment of Colorado citizens proved them wrong.
Most of us would hope that after being so wrong for so long, the anti-gun crazies would be more accepting of the prospect that we common folk can be trusted to act responsibly.
Sen. Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch) explained, albeit in futility, why such a law is necessary and rational: "Law enforcement can't be there at all times."
And despite the selfless sacrifices made by law enforcement officers, they are not legally required to come to your defense even if they do happen to be there.
Unfortunately for responsible citizens, it's not enough to have logic, history or, perhaps even, a majority of legislators on your side.
Mark Hillman is a wheat farmer and former Colorado senator. Visit www.MarkHillman.com to read more or to comment.