PERRY: Legislators arming cities to enact gun control could be Colorado’s magic bullet

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It’s pretty hard to take seriously the ability of hard-fought gun control laws in Colorado when you look at the monolith industry that local reformers are up against.

While passionate gun-law shapers like Democratic state legislators Rep. Tom Sullivan and Sen. Rhonda Fields continue to nudge ideas into bills and sometimes into laws, consider the foes.

A variety of business and government sources estimate there are currently about 400 million firearms in this country. U.S. gun manufacturers crank out anywhere from 11 million to 18 million more guns each year, and a few million more are imported. Estimates of gun and ammunition sales hover around $18 billion, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Overall impact, including gun sports like hunting, they estimate at more than $60 billion a year.

In fact, despite a new season of mass shootings across the nation, including in Boulder, the gun business has weathered the pandemic and recent gun-control efforts better than ever.

“Our industry is proud to be one of the bright spots in this economy,” NSSF officials said in a statement.

While Sullivan, Fields and others point to the almost 20,000 people who died last year because of gun violence — and those don’t count the additional 24,000 people who died from suicide by gunshot — gun rights activists keep impeding serious gun control.

Well meaning state measures passed in 2013 after the Aurora theater shooting limited the size of ammo cartridges and strengthened background checks. Neither of those things prevented Ahwad Al Aliwi Alissa, 22, of Arvada, from shooting dead 10 people in a Boulder King Soopers just a few weeks ago. 

Neither did the state’s more recent and more meaningful foray into gun control, the 2019 Red Flag Law. That measure allows police or family members to force a court to decide if someone is too mentally unstable or distraught to be allowed access to their guns, or a gun purchase.

It’s hard to say how effective the measure has been at preventing gun violence and death. Kaiser Health News reports that the law has been invoked 141 times in the last 15 months. It could be that of the 900 or so average gun deaths each year in Colorado, 141 were avoided.

That still leaves hundreds of Coloradans killed by guns each year, mostly by suicide and accident.

Colorado made serious progress there this year, enacting a long-overdue gun-lock and safe storage law. That measure forces the sale and use of gun locks and requires reporting if a gun is lost or stolen. That part of the bill looks easier to get around. But simply keeping kids from being able to snag their parents’ gun from the sock drawer, load it and use it is a huge step forward.

“A horrific Aurora case in 2015 resulted in no charges against a father who carelessly left his handgun in a coat pocket, which was discovered by his 12-year-old son,” The Sentinel wrote a few weeks ago. “The boy knew where in the house the bullets were. While having friends over, with the parents not home, he got out the gun and ended up inadvertently shooting a 7-year-old friend in the head.”

The boy’s father was never charged. Under the new law, he would have.

But for all the tragedy, grief, thoughts, prayers, threats and good intentions, Colorado, and the nation, are still awash in a sea of guns and daily gun violence.

Last week, lawmakers announced another post-Boulder-massacre push for legislation this year, saying that an assault-weapons ban in Colorado is off the table. A group of pro-gun-control lawmakers, led by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg, said that a state ban on the gun of choice for mass murderers would be ineffective. It has to be a congressional mandate to work. Maybe.

It made curious the only new measure announced by the group that does hold promise this year: the ability for cities to make their own gun-control laws. The state Supreme Court ruled just shortly before the Boulder shooting that Boulder’s assault-weapon ban didn’t pass state Constitutional muster. Senate Bill 256 could change that.

But if an assault ban across just Colorado won’t work unless it’s nationwide, it begs the question what good local enhancements can do, even across the metro region.

Probably not much.  Ahwad Al Aliwi Alissa brought his assault weapon to the Boulder murder after buying it in Arvada.

But there are a few things cities like Aurora should do immediately, and a few possibilities.

First, Aurora should ban weapons in all public places, other than gun ranges and retail stores. Already, city lawmakers ban guns from City Hall. The logic is simple.

The city also should ban so-called “public carry.” This odd form of exhibitionism comes in waves in Aurora. Gun aficionados taunt local cops by walking along busy streets or other public, visible places carrying a prominent gun, because they can. Like their indecent exposure counterparts, it’s all for shock value and getting a few likes on Youtube.

And for real? Require gun and ammo registration and annual registration fees. Start at $500 a year. Require gun safety classes to complete registration.

Just like the city commands hefty homeowner insurance fees for dangerous dogs, require gun owners to buy gun-owner insurance policies and allow the Aurora Department of Gun Safety to inspect and ensure safe storage of guns.

For those who want more than one gun? You have to get an Aurora collector’s permit, just like you do for cats.

Assault weapons? Gone.

The best? Require an annual physical and basic psych evaluation from a resident’s local family doctor as part of the annual permitting process.

Sure, if just Aurora steps up to create these ways to deter gun violence, groups like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the National Rifle Association and the rest supporting a $60 billion-year industry will rain legal hellfire and damnation all over us.

But if all of Colorado’s 142 cities and 64 counties did the same thing? Just half?

Maybe, state lawmakers are onto something after all.

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

 

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Doug King
Doug King
1 month ago

Dave? Great ideas. Not gonna happen.
I agree with your position on open carry within city limits. When out hunting in the wilderness, should be fine. I’m fine with CCW permits. I’m fine with insurance. I’d like AR-15 style weapons for civilians to be single shot ..

Calvin Condos
Calvin Condos
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug King

They are single shot they fire a single round every time the trigger is pulled.

Gdogs
Gdogs
1 month ago

“And for real? Require gun and ammo registration and annual registration fees. Start at $500 a year. Require gun safety classes to complete registration.”

Are you serious? I have to ask again… are you serious? You don’t have a problem putting a $500 (a year?) tax in front of a constitutionally protected right? Talk about disenfranchising the poor. You most love poll taxes. How about a free speech fee? I’m sorry, but people like you can neither be taken serious, nor ignored. You must be fought tooth and nail.

Braveheart
Braveheart
1 month ago
Reply to  Gdogs

And…they will be fought! Mexican cartels are controlling weapons, drugs and human trafficking ALL across the border. I suggest you get educated about the reality that is occurring at an exponential rate. Further, maybe want to rethink on having your own personal protection available because I am pretty sure the cartels are joyfully enjoying your proposed regulations. Please, I implore you, utilize your 2nd Amendment rights, before criminals get their opportunity to take everything! Every life matters! Bless yours.

Dennis Duffy
Dennis Duffy
1 month ago

Here we go again another meaningless foray into control of normal people.
Please leave us alone!
We are normal.
Normal people don’t kill each other.
Aholes do!
Normal people respect life.
Aholes don’t!
Responsible police respect citizens.
Ahole police don’t!
Stop blaming normal people for the things that Aholes do.

Aholes have been with us for eternity. Chances are you know one. You might be married to one.
You might have one in your family, there’s nothing you can do about it! we’re stuck with them! You can’t control them they are Aholes……
Quit blaming normal people!
Normal people are normal!
Leave us alone!
Let us do our thing!
Go after the Aholes!
Leave us alone.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
1 month ago

I like all your proposals, Dave.

Gdogs
Gdogs
1 month ago

“And for real? Require gun and ammo registration and annual registration fees. Start at $500 a year. Require gun safety classes to complete registration.”
Are you serious? I have to ask again… are you serious? You don’t have a problem putting a $500 (a year?) tax in front of a constitutionally protected right? Talk about disenfranchising the poor. You must love poll taxes. How about a free speech fee? I’m sorry, but people like you can neither be taken serious, nor ignored. You must be fought tooth and nail.

Funny, all the other comments have been approved… wonder why mine hasn’t?

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
1 month ago
Reply to  Gdogs

“How about a free speech fee?”

You have a right to free speech and free assembly, but the government has the right to require a fee for a demonstration or other such activity on public property. You have a right to travel, but you don’t have a right to do so without paying tolls on toll roads, or to travel in a car which you haven’t registered, or to drive without a driver’s license.

No constitutional right is absolute. And public safety comes first.

Braveheart
Braveheart
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

Yes, public safety! Begins with LAW ABIDING citizens having the ability to protect themselves. For example, last night…I spent 4 very tense hours listening as someone just popped the deadbolt and proceeded with making themselves at home inside MY space, my home! Last night I was unarmed and prepared to face whatever outcome happened. My bad! I will never be in that position again. I seek peace, first. However, not at the expense of my safety and the safety of others! Everyone has choices and must be willing to accept the consequences of their own actions!

Gdogs
Gdogs
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

For that very reason I pay the state of Texas for the right to carry a concealed gun outside of my house. And I’m happy to do so (if for no other reason than I get a discount on my legal firearm transfers with a CHL), but that isn’t the same as requiring a $500 a year tax for simply owning a firearm, which is what the author is suggesting. $500 to have a firearm in your house? Are you OK with a $500 fee to say whatever you want in your own house? There has to be some context in this debate, and right now there seems to be none from the gun control side.

Gdogs
Gdogs
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

And for the record, you don’t have a constitutionally protected right to drive anywhere in a car other than on your own property.

Gdogs
Gdogs
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

Seems as though the good people at the Sentinel don’t care for actual discourse, at least as it pertains to approving comments that disagree with their way of thinking. If that is the only way they can win, then they’ve already lost.

2nd Amend Guy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

How about we start tinkering with the 13th amendment if they are not absolute? (Heads exploding)

Justin fodge
Justin fodge
1 month ago

I dont even live in Colorado but yea… This is a complete restriction of a constitutional right. And Jeff Ryan, your rebuttal makes NO SENSE. Its always sad and pathetic when Anti gunners preach all this so called amazing happiness without needing guns. And then when someone breaks into their home and harms their wife or daughter or kills them, THEN THEY ARE SCREAMING WHERES THE POLICE?! WHY WERENT THEY HERE!!! OR WELL I GUESS I DID NEED A GUN!?!

Last edited 1 month ago by Justin fodge
Richard Feldman
Richard Feldman
1 month ago

“The logic is simple” – really? No doubt a law that bans carrying a gun in public would stop criminals and mentally deranged lunatics from misusing a gun. How bout a law that makes it illegal to shoot people? Gee, why didn’t gun owners think of that – how clever!