UPDATE: A new Quinnipiac poll today shows the danger for Colorado Republicans:
American voters support stricter gun laws 66 – 31 percent, the highest level of support ever measured by the independent Quinnipiac University National Poll [Pols emphasis], with 50 – 44 percent support among gun owners and 62 – 35 percent support from white voters with no college degree and 58 – 38 percent support among white men.
Today’s result is up from a negative 47 – 50 percent measure of support in a December 23, 2015, survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll.
Support for universal background checks is itself almost universal, 97 – 2 percent, including 97 – 3 percent among gun owners. Support for gun control on other questions is at its highest level since the Quinnipiac University Poll began focusing on this issue in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre:
67 – 29 percent for a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons; 83 – 14 percent for a mandatory waiting period for all gun purchases. It is too easy to buy a gun in the U.S. today, American voters say 67 – 3 percent. If more people carried guns, the U.S. would be less safe, voters say 59 – 33 percent. Congress needs to do more to reduce gun violence, voters say 75 – 17 percent.
Local gun safety group Colorado Ceasefire sounds the alarm about a hearing in the Colorado House State Affairs Committee tomorrow, in which three GOP-sponsored gun bills will be debated–bills that would seem to move in the opposite direction to popular sentiment on guns, after yet another horrific mass shooting at an American high school last week:
The House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, February 21st (1:30 p.m. room 271) for 3 bills:
- HB18-1037 (Neville/Neville) Guns in Schools – allows anyone with a concealed carry (CCW) permit to take their handguns into K-12 public schools. Ceasefire is extremely super opposed to this measure.
- HB18-1074 (Everett/Marble) Use of Deadly Force in business location. This is the 13th year for this idea to come forward. This is a Stand Your Ground bill, that is, it provides for immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for the use of deadly force if a business owner or employee felt threatened, no matter how slight. Current law provides for self-defense, but without such blanket immunity. Ceasefire opposes.
- HB18-1015 (Saine and Humphrey/Hill) Repeal Magazine Ban. After the Aurora Theater and Sandy Hook Massacres, Colorado banned the sale and purchase of ammunition magazines over 15 rounds. The Aurora Shooter had a 100-round drum magazine. This is the 5th year gun enthusiasts have endeavored to repeal the magazine ban. Ceasefire strongly opposes.
For years now as the nation has been forced to reckon with outbursts of mass killing made possible by rapid-fire military-style semiautomatic weapons, a favored argument of supporters of gun rights is to argue that it’s “too soon” to have a discussion about the causes of mass shootings while the grief and emotion from the event is still proximal. It’s of course an entirely self-serving argument for gun rights supporters, since the visceral shock the public experiences in the wake of a mass shooting could lead to changes if allowed to take hold–while as time goes by, the shock fades and the more persistent passion of gun lovers reasserts itself.
Apparently in 2018, the gun-rights crowd has decided it’s not “too soon.”
Unfortunately, at a moment in history when the public is calling overwhelmingly for action to reduce gun violence, the gun lobby is proposing the most counterintuitive solution iaginable for gun violence: more guns. If the idea of allowing anyone with a concealed-carry permit, in a “shall issue” state like Colorado, to pack heat on the grounds of a school less than a week after 17 people died in a school shooting sounds like madness to you, you’ll be pleased to know the majority of the public agrees. There was an armed officer at Columbine High School in 1999, and at Arapahoe High School in 2013. The armed guard at Douglas High School in Florida last week never even saw the gunman.
At this point, we don’t even think it’s necessary to get into the weeds of why flooding school campuses with guns won’t stop mass shootings. And after the rapid-fire carnage at Aurora, Sandy Hook, Las Vegas, and now Parkland, Florida, no one needs to justify yet again Colorado’s 15-round limit on gun magazines. It’s enough to note that what Colorado Republicans are pressing ahead with even after last week’s killings is so far from an appropriate response to ongoing tragedy that it is offensive in the extreme.
And there should be a high price in votes to be paid in November.