Over the objections of a majority of Colorado’s chief law enforcement officers, Democrats pushed three “gun control” bills through the state legislature last year, wringing their hands and ridiculing those who refused to “do something to protect the children” from mass shootings like those at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. and an elementary school in Connecticut.
Republicans predicted the measures — banning new sales of magazines of more than 15 rounds, and requiring background checks on private gun sales — would prove unenforceable and would do nothing to prevent such incidents, both of which were carried out by lunatics.
And they were right.
Even the gun-hating New York Times now acknowledges the “unenforceable” part.
“When Sheriff John Cooke of Weld County explains in speeches why he is not enforcing the state’s new gun laws, he holds up two 30-round magazines,” the newspaper reported on Dec. 16. “One, he says, he had before July 1, when the law banning the possession, sale or transfer of the large-capacity magazines went into effect. The other, he ‘maybe’ obtained afterward.
“He shuffles the magazines, which look identical, and then challenges the audience to tell the difference.
“’How is a deputy or an officer supposed to know which is which?’ he asks.
“If Sheriff Cooke and a majority of the other county sheriffs in Colorado offer any indication, the new laws . . . may prove nearly irrelevant across much of the state’s rural regions,” the newspaper admits.
All but seven of the 62 elected sheriffs in Colorado signed on in May to a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the statutes — some of which has already been thrown out by a federal judge. (Surprise.)
And what about the other claim of the sponsors, that the laws would stop repetitions of the tragedies at Aurora and at the Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut?
“Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting,” responded the headline writers of the Washington Times on Dec. 18.
“It’s a stark fact that is fueling an already intense debate about gun rights in this state,” reported Valerie Richardson from Centennial, Colorado. “It was an armed deputy who stopped the Arapahoe High School gunman last week from unleashing a deadly massacre, not the expansive new gun control laws approved by Colorado Democrats in March in reaction to two mass shootings.
“That is the increasingly inescapable takeaway as details emerge from the school shooting Friday, when the 18-year-old gunman injured another student at random before turning the gun on himself in the school library as the armed deputy was closing in.”
Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Deputy James Englert, who was assigned to the school, forced the gunman’s hand by rushing toward the library, shouting at bystanders to get back, and identifying himself as a cop.
Eighty seconds after entering the school, the shooter killed himself. The deputy’s response “was a critical element in the shooter’s decision to take his own life,” said Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson.
The gunman, senior Karl Pierson, critically wounded a 17-year-old girl, but was clearly planning to do more than that. In addition to a 12-gauge shotgun, he carried 125 shells, three Molotov cocktails and a machete . . . but no deadly “high capacity magazines,” thank heavens. (They’re pretty much not available for shotguns.)
“The gun control laws didn’t make a difference,” points out state Sen. Greg Brophy, a Republican who will seek his party’s nomination for governor this year. “What made a difference was a person in the building who was armed and who rushed to end the threat.”
Tom Mauser, the unfortunately named spokesman for Colorado Ceasefire, told the Times the newly enacted laws are important from a public-safety standpoint, even if they failed to stop the Arapahoe gunman.
“It’s not a claim that these gun laws are going to stop any mass shooting from occurring,” said Mr. Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.
Um . . . what? The laws had to be passed because of the massacres, but now their sponsors admit the laws won’t do a thing to stop future massacres?
GOP state Sen. Brophy has certainly noticed the switch in arguments.
“The justification for bringing these (bills) up was Newtown, Columbine, Aurora,” said Mr. Brophy. “If they’re admitting that the purpose of these bills was not to stop these crimes from happening in the future, it makes me think the real reason for running these bills was to disarm everyone.”
The Colorado gun control bills triggered the recall of two of the chief Democratic gun-haters from the state Senate, the first legislative recalls in Colorado history. A third state senator resigned and snuck out of town Nov. 27 before recall petitions could even be submitted.
The useless laws are sure having an economic impact, though.
“One of the country’s largest producers of ammunition magazines for guns is leaving Colorado and moving operations to Wyoming and Texas because of new state laws that include restrictions on how many cartridges a magazine can hold,” The AP reported on Jan. 2.
Erie, Colo.-based Magpul Industries Corp. announced it was moving its production, distribution and shipping operations to Cheyenne, Wyo., and its headquarters to Texas, making good on a vow it made to leave Colorado during
last year’s gun control debate.
“Moving operations to locations that support our culture of individual liberties and personal responsibility is important,” Magpul CEO Richard Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said in a statement that Wyoming offers Magpul “a firm commitment to uphold the Second Amendment.” The move involves about 200 jobs.
It’s the second Colorado gun accessory manufacturer to relocate to Wyoming following the enactment of Colorado’s wacky new gun laws. HiViz Shooting Systems of Fort Collins announced earlier it was moving its core operations to Laramie.
Gun-haters fared a little better (at least temporarily) in New York at the end of the year, as federal Judge William Skretny, a former federal prosecutor who still spends most of his time jailing drug users and helping out the IRS, upheld most of New York’s new gun control law Dec. 31, rejecting arguments that its bans on normal-capacity magazines and the sale of some semi-automatic rifles violate the Second and 14th Amendments.
In Buffalo, Skretny concluded those provisions are constitutional because they’re related to achieving an “important governmental interest” in public safety.
The law “applies only to a subset of firearms with characteristics New York state has determined to be particularly dangerous and unnecessary for self-defense,” Skretny wrote. “It does not totally disarm New York’s citizens, and it does not meaningfully jeopardize their right to self-defense.”
The Second Amendment, of course, doesn’t say a word about “self-defense.” Do we really want our citizen militia, “necessary to the security of a free state,” to be deprived of “particularly dangerous” weapons? Why? So future would-be tyrants needs fear an opposition armed only with popguns and pocket pistols?
Bill Skretny is part of “the government.” And the Founders strictly forbade “the government” from in any way restricting our right to possess “every terrible instrument of the soldier” precisely because they knew “the government” would always claim to be acting in the interest of public safety, when in fact their top priority always has been and always will be “government safety.”
And it now turns out any gun control law is fine so long as it doesn’t “totally disarm New York’s citizens”? How about limiting them to possession of one bullet apiece? Would that be OK? Could we start by imposing this limit on the federal marshals and armed metal-detector operators (“You! Take off your belt and shoes!”) who “protect” Bill Skretny and his courtroom by reducing the peasantry to a state of cowering, disarmed subjugation, day in and day out?
Skretny upheld the ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds, but struck down a restriction on gun owners loading more than seven cartridges in still-legal 10-round magazines, because seven appears to be “an arbitrary number.”
So seven is “an arbitrary number” . . . but requiring New Yorkers to find 10-round magazine for Browning Hi-Power pistols that have held 13 rounds since 1935 — that were DESIGNED to hold 13 rounds — ISN’T arbitrary?
“Studies and data support New York’s view that assault weapons are often used to devastating effect in mass shootings,” Skretny wrote, citing a study listing 62 mass shootings in the U.S. since 1982 that concluded either assault weapons OR normal-capacity magazines were used in more than half of them.
Well, it’s hardly surprising that many shooters use box magazines, given modern trends in firearm design. Disgruntled mailmen are unlikely to start lugging around armloads of single-shot muzzle-loaders like Mel Gibson in “The Patriot,” regardless of the wishes of the Bill Skretnys of this world. But in fact, assault weapons were used in NONE of these crimes.
Now watch how these people operate. While every gun owner knows an “assault rifle” is a short, medium-caliber weapon with a selector switch which can be set to “full auto,” the new law in New York simply redefines an “assault weapon” as a semi-automatic rifle that can accept a detachable magazine and has one “military-style” feature such as a pistol grip or folding stock, so the definition now applies to semi-auto AR-15s and several other popular rifles and pistols, which thus can no longer be legally sold in New York, except of course to police SWAT teams preparing to break down our doors at night.
(The law requires an estimated 1 million private New York gun owners to register such previously owned arms by April 15. Wonder how that’s working out?)
Using this simple trick of changing legal definitions, lawmakers in Albany could just as easily re-define “machine gun” to mean “any weapon that’s ever been used to kill anyone, including knives and tire irons,” at which point former federal prosecutor Skretny could accurately state “Every murder committed in America in the past decade has been committed with a ‘machine gun’!”
Unless, of course, the fellow was right when he asked how many legs a dog has, if we call his tail a leg.
Told that the answer was five, the Great Tyrant is said to have replied “No, four. Because calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg, does it?”
Finally, the Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 13 what happened to investors who bought stock in gun manufacturers in the aftermath of the shooting gallery at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary.
They’ve made “incredible returns.”
Smith & Wesson is up more than 60 percent, while those who bought Sturm, Ruger stock have made profits of “nearly 80 percent,” beating “the overall stock market by more than two-to-one.”
The Journal’s year-end Marketwatch conclusion? “Gun control is dead as an issue.”