PERRY: Friends and even foes of state Rep. Tom Sullivan banish gun-rights bullies and their recall threats


In what usually happens only in Hollywood movies, Tuesday was the day the bully got sand kicked in his face.

And the crowd went wild.

The state’s most fearsome gun-rights thugs, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, and the vice-chairman of the Colorado GOP, announced Tuesday they were backing off their effort to recall Democratic state House Rep. Tom Sullivan for his support of a state gun control bill earlier this year.

In a rare moment of partisan unity, the announcement thrilled Colorado Democrats and Republicans alike. Not that Republicans wouldn’t love to see their trusted south-Aurora House District 37 seat returned to them.

Sullivan, whose son was killed during the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, plucked off popular GOP state Rep. Cole Wist during last fall’s election, surprising many people.

But when Colorado GOP Vice Chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown announced in May that she and RMGO chief Dudley Brown were heading up an effort to recall Sullivan for his support of the state’s new red-flag gun law, Democrats and more than a handful of prominent Republicans came out swinging.

RMGO is the local flavor of gun-thug gangs that raise money with gun-grabber scares and conspiracy theories. Then they bully members of Congress and state legislators into not daring to vote against their wishes. If they defy them, they administer a political body slam.

That’s what happened to Wist last year. The amiable GOP moderate had a leadership position in the state House. He co-sponsored a 2018 version of the Red Flag bill that passed this year.

RMGO officials viciously campaigned against Cole as being a treasonous gun-grabber. Not only did Brown and company run Cole down, fellow Republicans looked the other way and let it happen.

“I was in denial. Until yesterday,” Cole said in a tweet last month when the Sullivan recall effort began. “Last year, state GOP leadership failed to speak up to defend me when RMGO carpet bombed my house district with negative flyers. Now, these same leaders pledge to work with RMGO to take out my successor in a recall. I do not support this effort.”

It was astounding and resulted in cheers for Cole from both sides of the aisle.

From that moment on, Brown and his co-conspirators have been assailed by state Republicans, gun-rights advocates such as the Colorado Independence Institute, throngs of Colorado Democrats and even national headliners, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and  former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

Sullivan, who could have been a victim of quirky state voter laws and a viciously calculated recall effort, instead became the cause celebre for heavy hitters like Everytown for Gun Control and Moms Demand Action.

Today, Burton Brown and Brown folded their alarming game of Russian roulette.

Seconds after announcing they’d failed, media types hit the social media circuit to ask whether RMGO would return recall support money to donors. Since the inception of the recall campaign critics have accused RMGO and other conservative thuggeries of using recalls as money-making schemes for their operations.

Given one last chance to bail out his festering reputation, Brown passed it up.

He’s keeping the cash.

“I take the responsibility of spending RMGO donors’ money quite seriously,” Brown, said in a statement. “At this point, the best use of our resources is to refocus on other efforts.”

No one’s saying how much cash they’ve collected.

“In the coming months, we are looking forward to working with other conservative counterparts on focused and unified efforts to put more anti-gun Democrats in play in the 2020 election,” Brown said.

Good luck with that. A growing list of Colorado Republicans have made clear they want nothing to do with the state’s gun tyrant.

Lost in the bedlam was the cause that Sullivan has been passionate about for years. The red-flag bill that Burton Brown and Dudley Brown loathe is nothing more than good sense.

Now law, the measure allows police or family members to ask a court to separate a mentally ill person in crisis from his or her guns. Hardly a radical idea, unless you’re Dudley Brown or any of the other gun-rights extremists willing to try and extort anyone and everyone who gets in their way.

What RMGO and other ammophiles overlook is that it appears maybe Colorado has finally had enough deadly gun violence and bloodshed from mass shootings.

It’s barely been a month since Colorado’s last mass shooting at the STEM School in Highlands Ranch. Maybe it’s more than just being a bad time to be a gun-rights zealot. Colorado has had it with gun fanatics willing to pay the price of their “freedom” with the lives of innocent people gunned down in schools, offices, clubs and stores..

Grown ups should just look away and shake their heads as Brown fades into gun violence history.

But for today, I’m OK with not being a grown up. I just want to relish watching the state’s gun bullies chew on some gritty political sand for a while.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]