Senate Republicans Make Asinine Arguments on Ghost Guns

State Sen. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Douglas County) using his words on Thursday.

We wrote in this space on Thursday about discussion in the State Senate regarding proposed legislation seeking to regulate unserialized firearms — more commonly known as “ghost guns” — and to establish a process to serialize firearms made at home via a 3D printer or other methods. There have been bipartisan calls for this legislation, with Republicans such as Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman and Arapahoe County District Attorney John Kellner pleading with lawmakers to provide them with more tools to investigate crimes committed with “ghost guns.”

SB23-279 (“Unserialized Firearms and Firearm Components”) was introduced in part because of the March shooting of two staffer members at East High School in Denver; the suspect in that shooting was known to be infatuated with “ghost guns.” On Thursday, SB23-279 passed on second reading in the State Senate, but not before several Republican Senators had an opportunity to make some truly ridiculous arguments in opposition to the legislation.

Perhaps Senate Republicans have been feeling left out while their idiot colleagues in the House of Representatives get all the attention for saying stupid crap. Whatever the reason, their opposition to another common-sense gun safety bill was practically unintelligible.

You can watch the entire discussion here. We highlighted some of the more absurd statements below:

“People keep saying these are untraceable guns. I’m wondering which firearms owned by the people of Colorado WERE traceable. Does the government of Colorado know who here owns which guns, and where they are?”

— Sen. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Douglas County)


State Sen. Kevin Van Winkle kicked things off by demonstrating his confusion about the entire concept of “unserialized” or “untraceable” firearms. When a firearm is used in a crime, law enforcement officials need to be able to track down where the gun originated as part of their investigation. Nobody is tracking the location of your gun in real time. Besides, the government already knows where you are because of the computer chip implanted via the COVID vaccine.


“If you’re worried about firearm ownership, you probably ought to be sure that the person you sleep next to every night has theirs locked away. Because it is true that the person who is most likely to take your life is the person who knows you best.”

— Sen. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs)


State Sen. Bob Gardner shrugged off the problem by pointing out that it is your spouse who is going to shoot you dead anyway. Gardner then followed up by explaining that building your own “ghost gun” is mostly like fancy Legos:


“They’re hobbyists. They put it together…they do it in their garage, or their hobby room, or wherever. They like and enjoy this. Now we’re going to regulate that in some particular way. Okay, I get it…


…“If you are a hobbyist and you own one, the implication is you must be a criminal – you couldn’t just be someone who wanted to build their own handgun because they enjoy building things, making things, and they enjoy shooting as a hobby.”

— Sen. Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs)

State Sen. Bob Gardner

We know a guy who is currently building a ballistic missile in his garage. But just for fun.

Gardner later said:

“If you own a 3D printer…this makes it a crime to even make it [a ghost gun].”

Um, yeah…that’s sort of the idea.

He finished up his first trip to the microphone by complaining that the state legislature can’t turn off the Internet, or something:

“I don’t know what it will do about the advertising online, because you can’t very well say that I can’t look at that.”



“The people out there that know that they can commit these crimes…they know that the worst thing that’s going to happen to them if they go out and they use a firearm illegally in the commission of a felony, and they kill 5, or 10, or 15, or 20 people, the worst thing that is going to happen to them is that there will be life imprisonment for the rest of their life. They get free room, free board, free medical care – free everything. And they go, ‘Geez, it’s a deal.’ They’re willing to do it.”

— Sen. Larry Liston (R-Colorado Springs)


State Sen. Larry Liston is mad that we got rid of the death penalty in Colorado. He’s pretty sure that would have solved our “ghost gun” problem.


“It’s akin to, like, motorcycles. Motorcycles are dangerous, and people get hurt often with motorcycles. And so, we should go after with this bill – I’m paraphrasing – the people that like to build their own motorcycles from scratch. There are actually people out there who like to build motorcycles. They do it in their garages. It’s a passion project.


“That’s kind of who this bill is targeting in the firearms world – the craftsmen, the highly-skilled, the people that really have a passion for building their own firearms. It is not someone who is, you know, in the car-stealing circuit.”

— Sen. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Douglas County)


Senator Van Winkle apparently thinks that “paraphrasing” and “analogy” are interchangeable words. But he does get credit for making us chuckle about the idea of a “car-stealing circuit.”

Van Winkle then makes the claim that criminals wouldn’t bother making “ghost guns” because of the artistic challenges involved:


“In many times it’s [ghost guns] more akin to artwork than it is even a firearm that will someday be used in hunting or something.”

— Sen. Kevin Van Winkle (R-Douglas County)


State Sen. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park) took the microphone next to offer an amendment (more on that in a moment). But first, Baisley made sure to point out that even though this legislation is probably helpful, he doesn’t support it:


“The argument, of course, is that these weapons are showing up in crimes because it helps avoid punishment, and traceability and so forth by those who are of a criminal mind. Certainly an issue. However…we all swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States along with the Constitution of the State of Colorado…”

— Sen. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park)


Colorado Republicans must have all gotten the same memo on gun violence prevention legislation. As State Rep. Mary Bradfield artfully articulated earlier this week, she won’t support any gun safety regulations because “I’m a Republican.”

Baisley continued with a ham-handed argument that “ghost guns” are part of a “well-regulated militia,” just like the Founding Fathers intended!


“[This bill] does become an infringement on those who simply want to remain free and not under the power of an overwhelming government that we see from history, over the past 100 years, is a valid fear. Over the past 10 years in our own hemisphere, is a valid fear.”

— Sen. Mark Baisley (R-Roxborough Park)


State Sen. Mark Baisley

With this, Baisley introduced an amendment drafted by fellow Republican State Sen. Paul Lundeen — which was obviously rejected — that would have required law enforcement agencies that confiscate a “ghost gun” to reimburse DOUBLE the cost of the “materials and production cost.”

Crime doesn’t pay, kids…but maybe it should!


Before the discussion on SB23-279 concluded, State Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Castle Rock) stepped up to the microphone to add his own perplexing arguments — including his concern that there were just too many damn words to read in this bill:


“I commend the bill sponsors for, what I think is an actual belief that a bill like this might prevent a crime from happening in the future. I think their motives are pretty pure when it comes to that. I don’t know why we needed an 11-page bill to express that.”

— Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Castle Rock)


How many pages are acceptable for a “ghost gun” bill? Is it okay if the sponsors just keep it to single-digits?

Smallwood doesn’t believe that there is a correlation between violent crime and firearms, anyway:

“I don’t agree with the game of firearm whack-a-mole that we seem to play in this country…Nobody should argue that we [don’t] have a crime problem in the State of Colorado. Nobody should argue that we [don’t] have a violent crime problem in the State of Colorado.


I think both of those things are absolutely true. Obviously there were firearms long before we had the crime and violent crime problem in Colorado, so I don’t know that drawing a nexus between the two is necessarily the right thing to do…”

— Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Castle Rock)



Did not cavemen participate in mass clubbings?

Smallwood continues by saying that crimes committed with “unserialized guns” only make up a small percentage of gun-related crimes. Why this is a valid argument is not clear.

Here’s another confusing statement from Smallwood:

“I think that criminals MAY be specifically looking for unserialized firearms, but they can already find them.”

Right. That’s…why we’re discussing this bill.


“Is it the serialization of the gun that is the problem? I don’t know that I buy into that.”

— Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Castle Rock)


We don’t know that ANYBODY buys into that, Senator.

We’ll wrap things up with Smallwood acknowledging that SB23-279 will probably be a good thing, but he’s still opposed to it because it won’t eliminate all crime once and for all:


“My disturbing and sad prediction is that when this law passes, there may be fewer crimes committed with unserialized weapons in Colorado. A few? I mean, we don’t have walls around the State of Colorado. You can bring in unserialized weapons from a lot of different states, and probably a lot of different countries.


“You can get away with things in New Zealand, or the U.K., or Ireland that you might not be able to practically accomplish in the United States of America. But my sad prediction is that you may see a slight reduction in crimes that were caused by unserialized weapons that happen to be built in the State of Colorado, but I think you will see an uptick in crimes committed with stolen firearms.”   

— Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Castle Rock)


Criminals are just going to criminal, so why bother doing anything about it? We should all just start building “ghost guns” and catapults and prepare for “The Purge.”

The only thing left to say here is the same thing we concluded earlier this week: If you are a Colorado voter who views reducing gun violence as a major concern, then you simply cannot vote for a Republican.


4 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. 2Jung2Die says:

    Just FYI, I was able to scramble my vaccine computer chip by injecting straight Clorox, so Polis doesn't know where I am. Well, he might actually know I'm in the hospital due to injecting bleach.

  2. JohnInDenver says:

    Last time I checked, Colorado insists that homemade or "kit" motorcycles and cars that will be on public roadways need to have a registration, with some variety of VIN, kit number, or Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO).

    FAA insists that homemade aircraft have a N number.

    And yet, somemhow, the Republic still stands.

  3. Washopingmylastpostwouldbemylast says:

    JezuzH, that’s as much cumulative bleating, blithering stupid there on a single topic in one morning as Moderatus generates in an entire . . . morning?!

  4. Lloyd42 says:

    A point of clarification. Baisley doesn't represent Roxborough Park these days. He has moved on to Woodland Park as State Senator. The air in Roxborough hasn't smelled of skunk since.

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