Sorry Gun Nuts, Colorado Tourism Is Booming


​After the passage of gun safety bills in the Colorado legislature last year, Republicans and their gun lobby allies predicted, we'd even go as far as say hoped for, a crippling boycott of the state's vital tourism industry. This prediction quickly proved unfounded, as the most likely indicator of a boycott by pro-gun tourists–a reduction in hunting licenses–didn't take place. In fact, Colorado issued some 18,000 more licenses in 2013 than in 2012.

And as the Denver Business Journal's Ed Sealover reports, 2013 overall was a banner year for tourism in Colorado:

Colorado welcomed a full-year record 64.6 million visitors in 2013, experiencing boosts even in segments of travelers — such as business travelers — for which many other markets saw declines last year.

The Colorado Tourism Office announced Tuesday that a trio of studies it conducted on visitation found also that those travelers spent a record $17.3 billion in the state…

[T]he state bucked trends by welcoming a 4 percent increase in business travelers as well, despite an 11 percent decline in business trips nationwide, according to a study by Longwoods International. Those business travelers spent a total of $1.4 billion in the state — a 21 percent bump above 2012 levels.

Visitors came in larger amounts for a number of specific reasons, including trips to casinos, visits to cities, attendance at special events, relaxation at resorts and combined business-leisure trips, the Longwoods study found.

We'll say it again and again: the dire predicted consequences of the gun safety bills passed in 2013 never materialized. The new laws did not "ban gun ownership" as Sen. Kent Lambert ludicrously claimed would happen. If anything, the impact of the new laws has been exaggerated by both sides: recent news reports indicate that the estimates of how many background checks on private sales would be performed were significantly overstated by nonpartisan legislative staffers. And despite Jon Caldara's ridiculous scare tactics, you can still buy compliant magazines in Colorado for virtually any weapon–including Caldara's precious Glock pistol, for which he said he would "never be able to get a magazine again" if these laws passed.

When is the media going to revisit this story? Not so Greg Brophy can grandstand about good-faith estimates from nonpartisan staffers–but to explain to the public how all the crazy stuff the gun lobby predicted would happen if we passed these laws never happened?

If voters deserve one side of this story, they damn well deserve the other. Starting with Colorado's booming tourism economy even after "gun control" was signed into law.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. exlurker19 says:

    Pot, more popular than guns.  Who'd a-thunk it.

  2. DavieDavie says:

    Wait — how can you imagine skiing or rafting or going to a business meeting without packing heat?  That would be like walking down the street stark nekkid.

    That's just plain crazy!

    • Diogenesdemar says:

      WWJBD ?

      (What would James Bond do?)

      These nutters live in a total fantasy world — can you even imagine what Brophy thinks he sees when he looks in the mirror?

  3. ModeratusModeratus says:

    You'll see who really gets hurt by gun control in November. Democrats lost the legislature by backing gun control in 2013. It's already set in stone.

    • DavieDavie says:

      Dream on.  Last time I checked we still have majorities in both chambers.  Unless you are using some fancy "new" math, I seem to recall that a tiny minority of a tiny minority voted out just 2 senators.  

      Pretty sure those will come right back to us in November.  So you can put your pecker away now.

      • SocialisticatProgressicat says:

        I'm sorry, Moddy's said his "so let it be written, so let it be done," so there's no way that the state legislature remained Democratic in 2013 even if the fact that it actually did remain Democratic is true.

        • ct says:

          After Gessler mops the floor with Hickenlooper and seizes control of the Gold Dome in the Great Gubernatorial rout of '14, people will not think fondly of the Democrat Democrats as they look at the empty restaurants and crumbling hotels, the abandoned resorts, and the crumbling tourist infrastructures that they left in their wake after they lowered the size of magazines to only 15 deadly rounds, making the baby Washington cry.

    • dustpuppydustpuppy says:


      It'll be a easy Democratic wave. The signs for the Republican wave are extremely lacking as in nonexistent.

      In fact, a major Democratic blowout is in the works in the fall, and that includes keeping the Senate and capturing the House and booting the monkeys out via tons of ethics investigations…..

  4. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Caldara is one of Colordado's most experienced and expert liars. The fact that he was on KOA so many years to freely lie is disgusting. Course now they have Bill Cunningham and "Joe Pags" in that role.

  5. Whiskey Lima JulietWhiskey Lima Juliet says:

    And no one mentions pot in the article?  This increase is due to a PR campaign?  What?  At some point someone is going to have to acknowledege that Colorado is hip because it passed pot legalization. 

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

      I assume 2014 will show even more of an effect, since this is the first year of recreational sales. That said I agree.

      • CaninesCanines says:

        Indeed. The numbers for 2014 will be the biggest factor in assessing whether marijuana has helped or hindered Colorado's image as a tourist destination.

        But true: it appears as if there's a concerted effort among biz peeps and chamber types and on-high officials and tourism p.r. flacks to totally avoid or deflect the topic.

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