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April 12, 2016 09:28 AM UTC

Colorado Lawmaker: Here's How You Break The Law

  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Colorado Ceasefire condemns Sen. John Cooke’s remarks yesterday in very strong terms:

Those who support the repeal of the ammunition magazine ban have repeatedly argued that the law inconveniences law-abiding citizens. “Sen. Cooke, as one of the leading supporters of the repeal, advocated that these same law-abiding citizens become criminals,” noted Jacqui Shumway, a board member of Colorado Ceasefire.

“What Senator Cooke doesn’t seem to understand is that the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed a high capacity magazine ban in order to save lives, and it is the law in Colorado. 82 people were wounded and 12 were killed in the Aurora Theater, where a 100-round drum was employed,” said Tom Mauser, also with Colorado Ceasefire. Mauser’s son Daniel was shot and killed at Columbine High School in 1999, where high-capacity magazines contributed to the carnage.

“Sheriff Cooke shamed himself and his state when he proclaimed he would not enforce the gun laws passed by the General Assembly in 2013. Now as a senator in that same Assembly, Cooke violates the expectations the people have of a lawmaker,” said Eileen McCarron, president of Colorado Ceasefire Legislative Action. “While he works to enact laws by day, in his off-time he is advising citizens to break them.”

Liberal group ProgressNow Colorado also fired up:

“Everyone knows the gun lobby dislikes Colorado’s magazine limit law, but it’s the law of the land,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “Sen. John Cooke has every right to introduce legislation to repeal a law his benefactors in the gun industry doesn’t like. But when Sen. Cooke encourages citizens to break existing law, even telling them to cross state lines to buy illegal products in another state, he is going too far.”

“As Weld County Sheriff, Sen. Cooke was responsible for policing the Wyoming border to stop illegal fireworks being smuggled into Colorado,” said Franklin. “Did Cooke tell Coloradans to ‘go to Wyoming’ for illegal fireworks? Would Cooke tell the citizens of Nebraska they have a right to take legal Colorado marijuana back across the border to a state where it is illegal?”

“Cooke’s flagrant encouragement of Coloradans to break the law, despite the risk of fines, jail time, and a criminal record, makes a mockery of his responsibilities as a lawmaker,” said Franklin. “If Cooke wants to advocate the breaking of Colorado law, he should not be in a position to either make or enforce our laws.”

It’s a big deal, folks. And it should be.


Sen. John Cooke.
Sen. John Cooke.

Yesterday, the GOP-controlled Colorado Senate gave initial passage to Senate Bill 16-113, legislation that would repeal the 2013 15-round limit on firearm magazine capacity. After passing the Senate, the bill awaits certain death in the Democratic-controlled House, but the perennial repeal attempts of the 2013 gun bills are still as much of a rallying point as General Assembly Republicans get these days–except for abortion, of course, and with election season fast approaching you won’t be hearing much about that going forward.

The debate yesterday over Senate Bill 113 could become memorable in another way, however, after remarks by former Weld County Sheriff-cum Sen. John Cooke of Greeley sparked outrage from gun safety advocates. Here’s the audio, we’ll post video shortly:

COOKE: The good Senator from Castle Rock, mentioned, uh, if you’re law enforcement or in the military you can still get ’em, well, which is true. But what I tell my people is go to Wyoming! You can buy all you want up in Wyoming because they’re not illegal. [Pols emphasis]

What happened here, as you can read very plainly above, is a Colorado lawmaker–indeed a lawmaker who was most recently a law enforcement officer–happily describing from the well of the Colorado Senate how he encourages other people to break Colorado law. Yes, it’s true that high-capacity magazines are available in Wyoming. So are, for example, illegal fireworks.

We’re pretty sure Cooke did not encourage people to “go to Wyoming” for their fireworks as Weld County Sheriff.

It’s possible that today’s politics have gone so far off the rails that nothing can shock the conscience anymore, but we are legitimately dismayed to see once again a Colorado lawmaker legitimize breaking Colorado law. We have to believe there was a time in history when that was not okay–when lawmakers, even when they disagreed with the law of the land, stood for the rule of law, and would never undermine the sanctity of the law for their own politics. Attempting to repeal a law you don’t like is fine. As a sworn lawmaker, telling your constituents not just that it’s okay but how to break the law is not acceptable behavior.

Make no mistake: this is not Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience, folks. This is George Wallace promising “segregation forever” as Governor of Alabama. It’s really important to understand that distinction. When Cooke admitted to doing was deeply wrong, and an affront to the most basic responsibilities of any lawmaker.

If you don’t agree, we’d say you should probably not be a lawmaker.


14 thoughts on “Colorado Lawmaker: Here’s How You Break The Law

  1. The 15 round limit isn't onerous but it is a bit odd.  My Glock has a 17 round magazine..  It's such a popular weapon that a 17 round limit would have exempted a lot of buyers without much of an increase in the threat.  My three magazines are grandfathered of course.  But 15 just struck me as odd.  10 wouldn't have made many more enemies and would have made more sense.

    1. Used to be 10 under the expired federal AWB law …

      … wasn't 15 chosen, more or less arbitrarily as a quasi-"compromise," so that Colorado legislation supporters could say something like, "we're not nearly as restrictive as things used to be"?

      1. The state bill started at 10 and was amended to 15.  I don't recall reading why, but usually a change like this is to sweeten the bill to get support from someone who's hesitant.

        Aaand, apparently that’s been mentioned just below me, in a separate thread.

  2. The original bill was for 10 rounds.  It was amended to 15 rounds as a compromise. All other states that have high capacity magazine bans have limits of 10 or fewer.

    1. It just seems to me that if the goal is compromise, the 17-round limit, which brings the very popular Glock inside, is more effective than 15.   No sweat to me.   I'm grandfathered in and when I check out, the Glock goes to my son-in-law, a police officer.   Cops, of course, are exempted from such limits.   I'm not sure if anyone even makes a 15-round magazine for the Glock because Colorado would seem to be the only market.

      1. I have come up with a simple solution for myself..I just stick with revolvers. There aren't many critters I can't stop with five rounds from a .357 magnum…and none of them live around here.wink

  3. Cooke's a constitutional Senator, just like Chuck Grassly – they are above the law and the constitutional because some dope cooked up some crackpot theory and armed a bunch of people and now they have backed themselves into a corner and if they back down now, then they admit their life's work has been more scam than honest legislatin' 

    1. Are you kidding us?!!! Do you know how many lawmakers walk into the Capitol everyday, bypass the Xray machines and body frames, carrying their guns under their coats, tucked in their trousers or snuggled in their boots? No, our legislators do exercise their 1 A rights!

  4. Lets be honest. If you can't hit your target with fifteen rounds you should not own a gun. Also the second amendment does not say the right to blow shit up. for the purpose of a well regulated militia. Also does anyone really think they will have time to shoot fifteen rounds when defending their home.. Another option is we good be like Iowa where blind people can have guns. I did not make that up!

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