UPDATE #2: Sen. Cory Gardner toes the Dudley Brown line, says the Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter:
Sen. Cory Gardner took some questions in Aspen yesterday.
“I don’t support gun control,” he said of dealing with the weekend shootings. [Pols emphasis]
There it is, folks. Cory Gardner is RMGO’s man to the bitter end.
UPDATE: Given that Dudley Brown told 9NEWS that Sen. Cory Gardner should face a primary if he supports a “red flag” law like President Donald Trump, here’s what Gardner told radio host Craig Silverman back in May:
Well, look, I think we have to prevent violence and we should protect our communities, but we can’t violate the Constitution. And you know, we cannot allow other rights and people’s — innocent people’s rights — to be taken in the name of trying to protect other innocent people’s rights. That’s not what the Constitution is about. Let’s find ways to stop the scourge of violence without harming people’s liberties.
And with that, recall how Cory Gardner was one of Dudley Brown’s early success stories (see below).
When we say Dudley Brown is the Colorado Republican Party, we mean it.
In the last 72 hours, events have transpired nationally that would under any normal circumstances have resulted in an instant sea change in Colorado politics. In the aftermath of two mass shootings in separate states within hours of each other that have killed over 30 people and wounded dozens more, President Donald Trump has called for the passage of extreme risk protection order legislation–“red flag” laws like the one passed in Colorado this year following the preventable killing of a Douglas County deputy sheriff.
ERPO laws enjoy overwhelming public support both nationally and in Colorado, where a 2017 survey found 80% of voters in support of laws to give family and law enforcement a court process to temporarily remove guns from people judged to an evidentiary standard to be a significant risk. It’s therefore not politically hard to understand why Trump would come out in support of them.
In Colorado, though, there’s a problem–the fact that Republicans are working to recall Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Jared Polis for passing Colorado’s “red flag” law. And the word today from our local news outlets is that even President Donald Trump can’t reason with the Colorado Republican Party. The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter:
Dudley Brown, the director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, which is suing to stop Colorado’s red-flag law from taking effect, slammed Trump’s remarks Monday. “You cannot infringe on the gun rights of millions of law-abiding Americans based on the actions of lawless madmen,” he said.
“Let me be crystal clear. Forcing universal (background) checks and red-flag gun confiscation laws on Americans would have done nothing to stop either of these murderers. They went through the failed and unconstitutional National Instant Criminal Background Check system,” Brown added.
Brown said he and his national group, the National Association for Gun Rights, will hold Trump and all other elected officials responsible for their gun control actions, regardless of political party.
It’s important to understand exactly what Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners is saying here. Not only is he against red flag laws, Brown just called the existing instant background check system used for almost all gun sales today “unconstitutional.” Not the “universal” background checks that have been law in Colorado since 2013–Brown is actually asserting that all gun purchase background checks are unconstitutional.
For those of us who understand just how far out of the mainstream Brown and RMGO really are, this isn’t news. But realizing how extreme RMGO is on the issue of keeping guns out of the hands of criminals is critical to grasping the next critical point: RMGO effectively owns the Colorado Republican Party. Dudley Brown actually told 9NEWS yesterday that Sen. Cory Gardner, one of ther nation’s most vulnerable Republican Senators, should be primaried if he joins Trump in supporting a red flag law. And as 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger reports:
Support of red flag legislation has led to recall efforts against multiple elected leaders in Colorado. President Donald Trump’s comments in support of a national red flag law, however, has not deterred those efforts…
“It really has to do more with integrity and honesty than it does any particular political issue,” said Robert Wareham, head of the Committee to Recall Tony Spurlock. “We’re not trying to recall him over red flag, we are trying to recall him because he has violated, we believe, his oath of office, by supporting legislation that infringes on constitutional rights.”
…In Lakewood, the signature collection process is already underway to try to recall Sen. Brittany Pettersen (D-Lakewood).
Nancy Pallozzi is leading the effort. When reached by phone on Monday, she said she was in the middle of collecting signatures and would continue to tell voters about Pettersen’s role as a co-sponsor of the red flag bill that passed this year.
Our intent is not to fictionalize President Trump into some kind of moral authority on guns, which he of course is not. But the truth is that support for the kind of law we passed in Colorado this year is growing among Republicans and Democrats alike, and none other than GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina has emerged as a major proponent as the toll from preventable mass shootings continues to spiral.
But apparently none of that matters once you cross the border into Colorado. When the vice chair of the Colorado GOP filed petition language to recall freshman Rep. Tom Sullivan earlier this year, whose casus belli for supporting gun control was his son murdered in the Aurora shooting, it was meant to signal to everyone that no one was safe from Dudley Brown’s wrath. That campaign collapsed in a heap when voters in Sullivan’s district refused to sign a petition they knew was morally debased.
But that’s not stopping Republicans. Because apparently nothing can. The people who targeted Sullivan control the Colorado GOP at the highest levels, control the GOP House minority via Patrick Neville’s iron grip even after the disastrous 2018 landslide for Democrats, and have elected county sheriffs across the state more loyal to Dudley Brown than to their oaths. These people genuinely don’t care what a Republican President says, even Donald Trump. Insider Republicans who tried to stop the takeover of the Colorado GOP by these extremists failed–in no small part due to their own incompetence, but the failure has now resonated well beyond 2016 GOP primaries.
And today, there’s no one left to pull the plug. No matter what happens–no matter how many Republicans come out in support of the same law being invoked to target Colorado Democrats for recalls, no matter how many Americans die in mass shootings it’s obvious such a law could help prevent–the fringe element in control of the Colorado Republican Party is going to keep pushing their hard line.
Whatever happens before then, in the 2020 general election Colorado voters are increasingly likely to punish local Republicans–both as continuation of 2018’s overall repudiation, but also for the Colorado GOP’s actions since 2018 which have proven they’ve learned nothing from their defeats. If not even Donald Trump can reel the fringe elements in control of the Colorado Republican Party in, the wheels have truly come off.