— Charles Ashby (@OldNewsman) February 3, 2015
Yesterday's action in the Colorado legislature on guns was mostly a party-line affair, with gun law rollback bills passing in the GOP-held Colorado Senate and dying in the Democratic controlled Colorado House. But as the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby reports, there was one exception to this generally reliable rule:
The House committee also killed an expansion of the state’s law on the use of deadly force to businesses as a defense from prosecution, known as the Make My Day Better Law. Also killed were a bill to protect from liability in a gun-related incident a business that allows guns on its premises, and a measure that would make it easier to transfer military-style firearms, such as machine guns, missiles or grenades, to others. [Pols emphasis]
That last bill was the only one to see a Republican vote against it. That Republican was Rep. Dan Thurlow of Grand Junction.
This wasn't one of the marquee GOP bills repealing 2013 gun safety laws, but rather a significant weakening of protections on the transfer of military-grade weapons, explosives, etc.–weapons that require a much more stringent permitting process than ordinary guns for obvious reasons. The bill would have forced the Colorado Bureau of Investigations to produce a certificate signing off on such a transfer within five days, or a denial. Opponents argued that forcing the checks involved to be completed within five days could result in less thorough screening, which has clear public safety implications when we're talking about machine guns and rockets and stuff.
As Ashby suggests in his Tweet above, it's unusual to see a Republican vote contrary to the desires of the gun lobby, especially when it stands out as prominently as this–the only Republican vote with Democrats on any of these bills. We hope Rep. Dan Thurlow has fully considered the ramifications of defying the powerful Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an organization that wields the bulk of its power in safe-seat GOP primaries.
You know, like Rep. Thurlow's safe seat.
It's not our intention to criticize Rep. Thurlow's vote, of course. Just a reminder that the gun lobby never forgets.