There are good reasons why our nation's Founding Fathers created a two-house national legislature and why Colorado followed the same path. The second house is supposed to improve or reject bills that the first chamber may have passed in haste.
How well is this system working in the case of the anti-gun bills put forward by the majority Democrats in the General Assembly? Regrettably, the answer is, not very well. While two of the worst bills did not pass the Senate — the ban on concealed carry on college campuses and the proposal to hold gun manufacturers (and gun owners!) liable for all the future uses of their products — the Senate has passed three House bills that also deserved to be rejected.
The Senate was not convinced that a ban on concealed carry on college campuses would improve public safety. The problem is that none of the five bills passed by the Senate will do that either.
Like all Coloradans, I was shocked and outraged by the mass killings that occurred in recent months in Aurora and in Connecticut. We all want to see guns kept from mentally unstable people, and we all want our schools and malls and other public places to be safe from violent intruders. But the state's Democratic lawmakers have misread this public outrage to press an extreme anti-gun agenda that makes no meaningful contribution to public safety.
Probably the most outrageous bill in the package of proposals soon to land on Gov. Hickenlooper's desk is HB 1224, which prohibits the sale or transfer of gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds — or can be readily modified to hold more than 15 rounds. The language of the bill effectively outlaws ALL gun magazines for semi-automatic firearms because they all can be modified for more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
Each of the five remaining gun bills now going to the Governor has similar harmful, hidden consequences that go far beyond anything reasonable people would connect to public safety. Only one bill, SB 195, prohibiting online safety training courses for concealed carry permits, earned bipartisan support.
A new poll by Public Opinion Strategies shows that most Coloradans do not think these bills make them safer. The evidence is that the public has not been fooled by the attempt to rush these bills though the Legislature without adequate debate and consideration of unintended consequences.
We can only hope that the governor is listening to the good citizens of Colorado. If he is the sensible moderate he claims to be, he will veto these three House bills.
State Sen. Mark Scheffel represents District 4, which includes Parker, Castle Rock and southern Douglas County.