LETTER: Colorado’s AG race will be pivotal for gun safety laws

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Editor: From Columbine to the Aurora Theater to Boulder King Soopers, Colorado communities have suffered multiple mass shooting tragedies, as well as the scourge of everyday community violence.  We at Colorado Ceasefire fight to ensure that not one more life is lost or harmed due to gun violence. This fall, Colorado voters have a critical choice when it comes to defending our reasonable pro-safety gun laws.

This month, Coloradans witnessed yet more acts of gun violence and related threats.  We all held our breath when numerous schools received shooting threats, terrifying evacuated students. Two boys were injured in a Denver shooting, and a 16-year-old is held as a suspect. A shooting occurred in Colorado Springs, leaving one man with serious injuries.  That followed days after a teenager was shot and killed in that same city. And an Arvada police officer lost his life when shot while responding to a call.  

According to the State, so far in 2022, firearms were present and used more than any other type of force when violent crimes were committed. This is a continued warning that fighting crime requires responsible gun laws to keep people safe.  

In recent years, Colorado has improved its gun laws, including background checks for firearm purchases, limiting magazines to 15 rounds, allowing courts to require the removal of guns from those who are dangerous to self or others, and protecting children by requiring safe storage of firearms. 

Time and again, courts upheld these laws. But now, there’s a new attack on Colorado’s gun safety laws. After losing in state court, gun rights groups are heading back to court to lift the 15-round magazine limit – this time in federal court. They aren’t hiding why, clearly stating they now see a path to win given the new right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court.  

This sets the stage for the next fight to defend gun safety measures widely supported by Coloradans. That stage – federal court. And the state official charged with defending our gun laws – Colorado’s attorney general.

Who sits in the attorney general’s office determines whether Colorado’s gun safety laws are strongly defended against the incoming onslaught of lawsuits to overturn them.

Current Attorney General Phil Weiser is on record defending Colorado’s red flag law to remove firearms access from those posing a deadly threat. He also defended the large capacity magazine ban. Both times, Weiser won in court. Furthermore, Weiser advocated at the Capitol for responsible firearm laws and launched a safe storage effort to educate gun owners on keeping firearms from kids.

Weiser’s opponent, John Kellner, has never defended any gun laws in civil court (nor has he ever argued in civil court on any matter). When pressed, he vaguely affirms he will do so if elected AG. To date, Kellner has a questionable record on gun safety measures – the same measures he would be charged to defend if elected AG. In an interview, he cast doubt on why families should be able to petition a court to remove guns from a disturbed family member posing a danger to them. And despite Colorado communities ravaged by mass shootings, Kellner said last month he opposes an assault weapons ban. Would Kellner defend Colorado’s gun laws he’s indicated he doesn’t care for? Or would he be a vehicle for the gun lobby?

A critical decision for voters this fall is who will be attorney general. How the voters choose will decide just how strongly (if at all) Colorado’s gun safety laws are defended against these new assaults on Colorado’s reasonable gun safety laws. 

— Eileen McCarron, via [email protected]

Eileen McCarron is president of the Legislative Action branch of Colorado Ceasefire, which has been advocating for stronger gun laws since 2000. 

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Don
Don
2 months ago

Does the author of this letter know that the magazine ban is unenforceable and may as well not even exist? Or are they just lying to readers who they hope won’t be educated enough to know? Maybe just grandstanding about a law that accomplishes absolutely nothing except making them feel important and powerful.

Rick
2 months ago

Never trust a politician that does not trust you with a gun. An armed person is a citizen an unarmed person is a subject.

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
2 months ago

Thank you for posing this in such a way that every Coloradan should find compelling.