Sell Out Your County and Lose Your Seat

Soon-to-be former Yuma County Sheriff Chad Day

One of the more interesting Primary Election stories that you might have missed happened in Yuma, Colorado, where Sheriff Chad Day lost his job in a Republican Primary to challenger Todd Combs.

Day will be out of a job just months after news reports detailing agreements to “deputize” a mega-rich GOP donor and his friends who were looking to take advantage of a loophole in the law that would allow them to carry a concealed weapon wherever they went. In exchange for adding billionaire hedge-fund manager Robert Mercer and pals — none of whom live anywhere near Yuma, Colorado — to a list of volunteer “posse” members with the Sheriff’s Department, Day received a shiny new Dodge Ram 1500 Limited pickup truck for his official use, as well as $20,000 worth of tasers and an apparent promise to get more money for new handguns. Day defended this decision by making absurd claims that Mercer and his buddies were an important part of some sort of undercover police operation against a Mexican drug cartel (we couldn’t possibly make this up).

Yuma County voters were apparently not pleased that Day was selling out their community for gifts from out-of-state billionaires, and they promptly voted him out of office. Day is also the current President of the Colorado County Sheriffs’ Association, which doesn’t reflect well on the rest of the state — fortunately he won’t be holding that title much longer.

If You Want a Semi-Automatic AR-15, Maybe You Should Start Going to GOP Fundraisers

(We’re good, thanks – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you want to start amassing guns, you might consider attending Republican Party fundraisers in Colorado.

To get your own military-style semi-automatic AR-15 rifle this weekend, you’d have to be lucky (or unlucky if you hate guns), because it’s the grand prize in a Saturday raffle for the Teller County Republican Party.

In May, you could have gotten one at a GOP fundraiser in Colorado Springs.

The AR-15 is the firearm used at the mass killings of students in Florida this year and Sandy Hook in 2012. it was used in the Las Vegas massacre in 2017 and San Bernadino in 2015. And, unfortunately, elsewhere.

Does that bother the organizers of the raffle?

“Absolutely not,” said Erik Stone, the elected chair of the Teller County Republican Party, told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Individual people are responsible for individual acts. Guns are inanimate objects. They are tools. They can be used the same as a car, a knife, a sword, as we saw in Kansas City. There are many weapons people can use with evil intent. And I have no problems with our raffle.”

Stone said the winner of the raffle will have to pass a background check before receiving his or her grand prize.

“If they cannot pass a background check, they will receive a cash prize in lieu of the firearm,” said Stone, adding that he is not only a gun-rights advocate but also an NRA certified instructor who recently taught a free concealed-carry class for teachers and first responders. “Everything will be done completely legally.”

At a GOP fundraiser in May, your chance to win an AR-15 would probably have been more pricey. Instead of being raffled off, the weapon was the first of six “live auction items” at the El Paso County Republican Party’s annual fundraiser at the Antlers Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs.

The estimated value of the AR-15 for this weekend’s raffle is $1,500. The second prize in the raffle is 10 one-once Liberty Silver Dollars, with a retail value of $200. Money goes to Republican efforts in Teller County, located outside of Colorado Springs.

Stone said the AR-15 has multiple uses. It is America’s number one gun choice for killing varmints, he said, which is the same point made in March by U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) when he said farmers and ranchers in his district use the AR-15 to shoot “pests, raccoons, or foxes or other smaller animals that are trying get into their chickens or disrupt their operations.”

Gun-safety advocates say you don’t need a semi-automatic weapon to kill raccoons or other farm pests. It’s essentially a military weapon, designed for rapid-fire killing not hunting or other civilian use, they say.

Levi Tillemann’s Macestravaganza: Don’t Try It For Reals

The story of second-tier Democratic congressional candidate Levi Tillemann’s freakshow campaign video macing himself and graphically depicting the aftereffects has gone national, with news outlets from The Hill to Deadspin urging their readers to drop what they’re doing and gawk in horror at a person willingly subjecting himself to laughably extreme pain and indignity. The spectacle of Tillemann’s self-incapacitation by pepper spray hasn’t inspired support so much as bemusement–at the over-the-top lengths longshot political candidates will go to to put themselves on the radar.

But once you stop laughing/staring blankly in horror/whatever your first blush reaction to this video may have been, at some point the next logical question must present itself, presumably as Tillemann intended–would giving teachers pepper spray actually work?

FOX 31 did a Truth Check on the question last night, and the answer appears to be no:

Exact quote in ad: “Empower schools and teachers with non-lethal self defense tools like this can of pepper spray […] trust me this will stop anyone in their tracks.”

Verdict: Not exactly.

Reason: It is true that pepper spray has previously stopped school shootings. In 2014, a shooter at Seattle Pacific University was disarmed because a student had access to pepper spray.

However according to some law enforcement experts — the tactic would not “stop anyone in their tracks.”

“Absolutely one of the dumbest plans I have ever heard in my life,” Grant Whitus, a retired Jefferson County SWAT team member, told the Truth Check.

“To even use it effectively law enforcement is taught to take it out and shake it and then spray it and you get an effective range of 12-15 feet. How do you get 12-15 feet in front of a mass shooter and not get shot?” Whitus added.

Much like a well-timed kick to the groin or a handy baseball bat, there’s certainly a chance that pepper spray could be effectively employed against a school shooter in certain scenarios. But practically speaking, it’s not a reliable solution for school shootings given the easy countermeasures a shooter could employ to protect himself, and the highly unequal terms on which a pepper-spray armed teacher would confront someone carrying a gun.

So to summarize, an idea that Tillemann thought was such a groundbreaking contribution to the debate over gun violence in schools that he felt compelled to graphically demonstrate it on himself…isn’t even a good idea.

That’s something you should be 100% sure about before you mace yourself.

Gun Nut Assholes Afoot As Primary Election Nears

FOX 31 reports, with passions running as high as ever over the issue of gun control and the primary elections just a couple of weeks away, the issue’s trademark nastiness was bound to bubble up sooner or later:

A man said he is rattled and his children are frightened after someone put a target practice paper with bullet holes in his backyard one day after he put up a sign for a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in his front yard…

Ryan is a supporter of Mike Johnston, the former state legislator now running for governor of Colorado in 2018. On Friday, he planted a sign for Johnston in his yard.

On Saturday, Ryan said someone put a target practice paper in his backyard with bullet holes in it.

“It was so surreal. I think here in Stapleton, you think you are in a bubble but it brought me back to reality,” said Ryan.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston has made gun safety a major campaign theme, so it’s not a surprise that his name has come to be associated with the issue in the minds of angry supporters of gun rights–and with public opinion turning against the laissez faire interpretation of the Second Amendment that has prevailed in recent years, ardent gun rights supporters, especially in the state of Colorado, are very angry. That makes this incident deplorable, but unsurprising in the least.

On the upside, for every piece of human debris who thinks this kind of intimidation is cool there are a dozen who will be just a little bit more anti-gun after they see it.

How Colorado Republicans Blocked an Opportunity to Save Lives

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver)

I am respectfully responding to my colleague and friend Senator John Cooke’s recent op-ed regarding the “red flags” legislation introduced this session.  Red flag laws save lives.  When a person is in crisis, loved ones and law enforcement are often the first to see signs that they pose a threat.  The bi-partisan proposal we brought forward this year would have established a process to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose a serious threat before they harm themselves or others.

Red flag laws are on the books in eight states and are being proposed in over 25 others. Without laws like these, family members and law enforcement are often helpless to prevent tragedies despite having seen major warnings signs. One tragic example is Douglas County Deputy Sheriff Zackari Parrish III – who we named this year’s legislation in honor of. Deputy Parrish was killed in the line of duty last New Year’s Eve by an individual in the middle of a mental health crisis. The shooter was identified as a significant risk by several law enforcement agencies and by his own mother months before the encounter, but there wasn’t anything law enforcement or his family could do, and on a fateful night, there were tragedies.

Unfortunately, Senate Republicans chose to oppose this commonsense measure that is proven to save lives and increase the safety of our first responders and Coloradans.  The op-ed used misleading and inaccurate opposition talking points, which I felt strongly should not go unanswered and uncorrected.

The Republicans argue that the bill goes too far in setting up an “ex parte” – or emergency hearing — process for issuing an emergency protection order.  But ex parte hearings are not extraordinary; this is the same process domestic violence survivors use to obtain a protection orders.

Sen. Cooke also claims the bill does not provide enough due process.  The fact is, this life saving bill included substantial due process safeguards. The bill provides for a full hearing before a judge within 7 days following the emergency order, places the burden of proof on the family member or law enforcement officer, requires they meet the highest standard of evidence to demonstrate why the order is needed, and allows the individual to request a hearing after an order is issued to reassess whether it is still necessary.  Additionally, challenges against similar laws in Indiana and Connecticut have been dismissed and this bill went beyond those states’ laws in protecting individuals’ due process rights.

Senate Republicans then argue that the bill did not go far enough in addressing mental health.  I would ask them to explain to the people of Colorado how a bill that was supported by Mental Health Colorado and which explicitly allows for individuals to seek the treatment they need does not address mental health.  Researchers who have studied this policy identify it as one of the most effective suicide prevention laws. And yet, opponents who claim to advocate for mental health hide behind the falsehood that this does nothing to support mental health.

The rest of the Republican arguments fare no better and reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the bill. For example, there are in fact dozens of safeguards in the bill to protect individuals from false and malicious claims, including prosecuting acts of perjury. It is frustrating that the Senate Republicans seem to have so little understanding of the details of the bill, when the reasons they used to justify voting against this life-saving measure are simply incorrect.

On the whole, the op-ed shows the internal conflict many Senate Republicans faced: if they were to vote for a sensible, well-measured bill that had support from unified law enforcement, leading Republicans statewide and House Republicans, they risked crossing the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and its boss, Dudley Brown.

Unfortunately, I could not convince them, even after weeks and weeks of discussions prior to introduction, to support the safety of our first responders and the public by going against the fringe gun groups that hold my Republican colleagues hostage under the threat that they will “primary them from the right.”

Coloradans want leaders who stand for something, not against everything. They want elected officials who will continue fighting for solutions to address the scourge of gun violence and improve access to mental health services to those in crisis. Voters will remember where their elected officials stood on this issue in November.

Eighty percent of Coloradans support red flag laws. But this is not about polling. This bill is about saving lives. And when I introduce it again next year, I will again fight for Colorado to be among those leading the charge to save lives and protect communities.

Rep. Alec Garnett (D-Denver), is assistant majority leader of the Colorado House of Representatives

Trump Pardons The Nicest Guy In Politics

UPDATE: Trump also reportedly considering a pardon of Martha Stewart and former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (now a guest at Colorado’s own FCI Englewood). Both appeared on Trump’s reality TV show The Apprentice, which could now be the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card.


Dinesh D’Souza.

CNN reports:

President Donald Trump announced unexpectedly Thursday that he is granting a full pardon to Dinesh D’Souza, the conservative author and filmmaker who pleaded guilty to violating federal campaign finance laws in 2014. He was indicted earlier that year on charges that he illegally used straw donors to contribute to Republican Senate candidate Wendy Long in New York in 2012…

D’Souza is a contentious figure who once accused then-President Barack Obama of adopting “the cause of anti-colonialism” from his Kenyan father in a 2010 Forbes magazine cover story when Obama was in office. In the piece, he referred to Obama’s father as a “philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions.” He also once argued that Adolf Hitler was not “anti-gay.”

“Dinesh D’Souza is an individual who, you know, has made restitution and accepted responsibility for his actions, but these are infractions and crimes that are rarely prosecuted, and many believe that he was the subject of some selective prosecution from the previous administration,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said on Fox News Thursday.

Whether or not you think conservative shock-jock Dinesh D’Souza deserved to be prosecuted for his violation of federal campaign finance law, D’Souza’s fame in conservative circles has mostly been derived from his willingness to say the most offensive, frequently race-baiting, not to mention fact-free things you can imagine–and somehow be excused for it simply because D-Souza himself is a person of color. D’Souza is certainly not alone in this particular niche of the conservative mediasphere, but he is one of the most consistently…well, really just nasty about it.

With that said, we see little evidence that his campaign finance conviction has been a career problem for D’Souza, who remains on the for-hire Republican dinner circuit–including earlier this month in Pueblo. As you can see above, D’Souza is right up Rep. Judy Reyher’s alley! It might make you and anyone else with an accredited education in American history cringe, but there’s a ready market for this stuff.

Aren’t you glad this man has been legally rehabilitated?

These Colorado Republicans Are Pushing the Limits of Anti-Immigrant and Race-Baiting Rhetoric

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Walker Stapleton endorser Tom Tancredo has partnered with State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) and his son Joe Neville to promote political messaging that reflects the anti-immigrant rhetoric of President Trump and pushes the limits of  limits of inflammatory and race-baiting statements. 

The new Tancredo-fronted group, Citizens for Secure Borders, claims to be “dedicated to providing the public with information regarding key issues related to preserving and promoting the safety and security of the public.” The group’s 501(c)4 articles of incorporation lists the home of Sen. Neville as its “principal office street address.” Its three board members are Joe Neville and two of his employees at consulting firm Rearden Strategic. Both Aaron Yates and Brandon Wark, like Joe Neville himself, are former employees of Dudley Brown’s right-wing gun rights advocacy groups, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners & National Association of Gun Rights. 


Get More Smarter on Friday (May 25)

It’s going to be a scorcher this Memorial Day Weekend — don’t forgot your sunscreen. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► If you’re heading out for a road trip this Memorial Day Weekend, make sure to bring along some extra cash for rising gas prices. The average price of gasoline is creeping toward the $3.00 per gallon mark — an increase of 31% in the last year and the highest average mark since 2014. As Politico explains, rising gas prices are happening at a bad time for Republicans:

President Donald Trump is hoping a wave of tax-cut-fueled economic euphoria will boost his approval ratings and his party’s political fortunes this fall. A sharp spike in gas prices could slam the brakes on all of that…

…The increased cost of fuel is already wiping out a big chunk of the benefit Americans received from the GOP tax cuts. And things could get worse as summer approaches following the administration’s standoff with Iran and a move by oil-producing nations to tighten supplies.

The result: The economic and political benefits Trump and the GOP hoped to reap from cutting tax rates could be swamped by higher pump prices that Americans face every time they hit the road.

“If you look at the benefits of what households are getting from lower rates, roughly one-third of that is wiped out if these higher gas prices are sustained,” said Ellen Zentner, chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley. “And when we drive down the street, every block we see glaring signs about how much gas costs that day and it’s all over the media. The tax cuts were a one-off. It’s a one-time level shift in your paycheck that you are not reminded of every day.”

The rise in gas prices has a greater effect on lower-income Americans, particularly those from the Southern U.S. and the blue-collar voting base that supporter Donald Trump in 2016.


 The editorial board of the New York Times takes another broad look at the Trump administration:

So, for the fourth time in a year, we’ve compiled a list of Mr. Trump’s more egregious transgressions. These items don’t represent disputes about policy, over which reasonable people may disagree. They simply serve to catalog what Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and all the other Trump-supporting Republicans in Congress and across America, through their silence, have now blessed as behavior befitting a president of the United States.

We find this guide a helpful way to avoid growing numb to what is so abnormal about this presidency, and to remind ourselves that a day may yet come when dignity and decency will matter again, even, perhaps, to Mr. McConnell and his fellow hypocrites.

Check out the entire bullet-point list from the Times, but make sure you have the antacid within reach.


Chris Cillizza of CNN examines the (faceless) government conspiracy being peddled by President Trump:

Over the last 72 hours, the President of the United States has leaned into a conspiracy theory that goes like this: During the 2016 presidential race, President Barack Obama — via the FBI — placed a “spy” within Trump’s campaign for purely political reasons.

Trump made that charge plain in a tweet Friday morning:

“Can anyone even imagine having Spies placed in a competing campaign, by the people and party in absolute power, for the sole purpose of political advantage and gain? And to think that the party in question, even with the expenditure of far more money, LOST!”…

…But the fact that this is what Trump does shouldn’t distract us from the allegations here: Donald Trump is saying his predecessor as president used the leading law enforcement entity in the country to spy on him because Obama/the “deep state” didn’t want someone as unconventional as Trump to be president.

To be clear: There is zero public evidence that Trump’s claims are anywhere close to the truth.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Robinson Claims Support for Colorado’s Red-Flag Bill Was Misreported, Disputing Record

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Back in April, KNUS radio host Craig Silverman reported that GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson favored the “red flag” bill under consideration in the Colorado legislature, which would have allowed law enforcement officials to ask the courts for permission to seize guns from people who are deemed to pose a “significant risk” to themselves or others.

But Robinson is saying he actually opposed the legislation, which was killed by state senate Republicans after House Democrats, joined by two Republicans, approved the legislation in the Colorado House.

During a debate Saturday, presented by the Gazette/ColoradoPolitics/El Pomar, Robinson said:

Robinson: “We have to have the courage, we have to lead on a red-flag bill that makes sense. This last one did not. It did not have the due-process protections. But we could lead and make sure that guns are not in the hands of the mentally ill.”

Asked about the apparent inconsistency, Brett Maney, Robinson’s spokesman, told the Colorado Times Recorder via email:

“Doug’s been consistent in saying he supports Red Flag laws (something that he very clearly stated in the debate) and that he would support one with the proper due process protections in place,” said Maney. “He was disappointed that the bill was killed without any attempt to make those necessary due process changes, but without those changes, he thinks it’s better that it was killed.”

After hearing Robinson’s claim that he opposed Colorado’s red-flag bill, Silverman tweeted a photo of an email from Maney stating, “I agree with this bill and strongly urge its passage.”

Asked about Silverman’s email, Maney told me, “I assumed Craig was reaching out to get Doug on to discuss his support of the bill, so I didn’t detail his full position.”

During Saturday’s debate, Robinson also said he backs an “armed person in every school,” and he wants to “harden our schools,” citing a tool kit for greater school safety.

“We know the Democrats’ plan,” he said. “They want to take our guns away.”

By opposing Colorado’s red-flag bill, Robinson has thrown gasoline on the the fire  in the conservative underworld. The battle pits vocal GOP backers of the legislation, like Arapahoe County area district attorney George Brauchler, against KNUS hosts Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden.


Women Could Cook Mike Coffman’s Goose Over Guns

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).

An opinion piece in Roll Call today by longtime political reporter Patricia Murphy asks a question we expect to loom large in the 2018 midterm elections: will the GOP’s unswerving support for the laissez faire interpretation of gun rights favored by the National Rifle Association finally become the liability for Republican candidates that has been forecast for years now as the issue of mass shootings has risen in the public consciousness?

Murphy says 2018 could be the year:

Women are coming for you, Republicans. That’s the message of 2018 so far, isn’t it? Between the record number of women running for office (mostly as Democrats), the record number of women winning primaries, and the enormous gender gap that shows up in polling everything from the president’s approval rating to generic House races, there’s a theme showing up — Republicans have a problem with women.

And they do. But from the conversations I’ve had with suburban women voters, and especially the mothers of young children I see every day as the mom of 5-year-olds myself, there’s much more to the story of the GOP’s trouble with women, and it has nothing to do with Stormy Daniels, #MeToo, Russia or the Resistance.

The problem is the feeling mothers have all day, every day, when they watch their children step through the doors of their school at drop-off or onto the school bus, if that’s how they leave in the morning. The feeling is something between awareness and anxiety. It lasts seven hours or maybe eight, 10 if it’s a long day, until their kids are home again. It comes with dark thoughts, usually in the back of their minds. Some days, with breaking news banners, the feeling is a split second of panic…

With every school shooting that has happened recently, and then faded into the pile of the ones before it, Washington has seemed more and more resigned that nothing can be done to stop the next one. Doing something before the midterms? Don’t be crazy. But the feeling outside of D.C. is, in fact, the opposite — that something must be done to stop the next one, and it should have happened already.

In particular, Murphy opines, it’s a huge mistake to assume that Republican women are in lockstep with the NRA (and for that matter, their husbands) on taking concrete steps beyond the scope of what’s been proposed to date to reduce gun violence–especially mass shootings and violence against school children. The right’s extremely well-entrenched information machine of course saturates those women with the same pro-gun messages as other conservative media consumers, but it’s counterbalanced by a fundamental sense of unease women feel regarding threats to children. Their own, and all the others. We don’t think it’s sexist to posit that women feel an innate sense of responsibility for the safety of children that men seem more capable of rationalizing away.

What does this mean for Colorado’s most perennially vulnerable member of Congress, Rep. Mike Coffman? Colorado’s long tragic history with mass shootings, including the 2012 Aurora theater shooting in the heart of Coffman’s district, could combine with the shifting public opinion on guns nationally to create a perfect storm for Coffman. Murphy singles out Coffman as a prime example of a Republican whose support for the NRA, an unquestioned article of faith for his entire career up to now, could suddenly become a critical weakness in a district that Hillary Clinton carried comfortably in 2016.

Coffman’s campaign wants voters to think nothing has changed, and nothing will change. That no matter what happens, Coffman will be able to cobble together a majority of support to hold on to his seat even as the same voters elect Democrats to other offices.

But something about this year…feels different.

Stapleton Blows Friendliest School Safety Interview Ever

Heads are spinning this morning over an interview of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton on the Fox News Channel in response to yesterday’s tragic school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas–an interview in which Stapleton showed himself to be painfully unprepared to discuss one of the nation’s most critical issues:

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton.

The interview begins with the host–we don’t know his name given all the turnover at Fox News recently–asking Stapleton what he would do to improve school security. Stapleton responds with a call (see Tweet) for an “armed public safety official in all our schools.” That sounds fine, except when you realize there was an armed officer at yesterday’s shooting. Just like there was at nearly all of these shootings including Columbine.

This is like “showing leadership” by calling for all automobiles to have brakes.

But then at about 40 seconds into the clip, it gets much worse:

ANCHOR: Would you go as far as Governor Scott did in Florida with his state legislature?

STAPLETON: Uh, I-I I don’t know, how how, I don’t really know about Governor Scott’s, uh what measures Governor Scott took in Florida, [Pols emphasis] but I uh would go as far as to have the state of Colorado make sure that we have a single point of entry, metal detectors, public safety officials who are armed at every school…

ANCHOR: Well here hold on, I’ll help you–I’ll help you with what Governor Scott did, three-day waiting period for most purchases of long guns, raising the minimum age to buy those weapons to 21, banning possession of bump stocks, which uh can make semiautomatic weapons fire like an automatic weapon. Are you good with those?

STAPLETON: I think, Nah, I think bump stocks is a federal issue with the ATF that actually was passed during the Obama years, so that’s not really a state issue.

ANCHOR: So, a three day waiting period or raise the age to 21?

STAPLETON: I, ah, no. I don’t think that those are practical steps…

Let’s break this down. You have the leading Republican candidate for governor of Colorado on national cable news to talk about school shootings, and he didn’t even do any research about what the Republican governor of Florida Rick Scott did in response to the previous major school shooting incident in that state. Once the obliging Fox News anchor recites all of the steps Florida took after the Parkland shooting, Stapleton declares that none of them are good ideas. Stapleton even dodges the question of bump stocks by blaming them on “the Obama years” without ever even saying clearly they should be banned. But by this time, it’s clear to everyone watching that Stapleton doesn’t know what he’s talking about–so who cares what he thinks?

If you’re among the nearly-unanimous American public and even majority of Republican voters who agree that we can and must do more to prevent gun violence, this interview was a horrifying display of incompetence thinly concealed by outdated talking points. If you’re one of the diehard gun-rights supporters Stapleton was pandering to in this interview, you should be just as horrified that someone with so little knowledge about this issue wants to be the governor of a gun-rights battleground like Colorado.

Either way, it’s quite a thing to witness again just how bad Walker Stapleton is at this.

“Red Flag” Bill Heads To Dudley Brown’s Stomping Ground

Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

Denver7’s Oscar Contreras reports on the fully predictable yet unfortunate anticipated fate of House Bill 18-1436, the “red flag” bill to allow for the temporary removal of firearms from the possession of persons in the midst of a mental health crisis:

A bill that would allow judges to seize guns and ammunition away from people deemed to be in midst of a mental health crisis passed the Democratic-controlled House Friday night with very little Republican support.

House Bill 1436, sponsored by Assistant Majority Leader Alec Garnett, D-Denver, and Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, passed the House by a 37-23 vote. Among those voting “aye” were two Republicans.

The so-called “red flag” bill still has to go through the Republican-led Senate, where chances of it passing appear dim.

The bill would allow the temporary order from the judge to stay in place for seven days, during which the person can petition to have their weapons returned.

The Denver Post’s Jesse Paul quotes GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham pretty much broadcasting how this is going to end:

“I don’t think it’s any secret where the three members stand on that particular subject when it comes to the potential for gun confiscation without the proper due process,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City. He was referencing the three senators who make up the GOP majority on the Senate’s State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee, where the “red flag” bill will be heard.

“So, I don’t think it should be any surprise what happens to that bill once it goes through committee,” Grantham added.

It’s evident from the vote in the House, in which GOP sponsor Rep. Cole Wist was joined only by Rep. Dan Thurlow in voting for the bill, that the initial bipartisan support for the legislation when it was introduced was successfully beaten back by the hard-right gun lobby led by Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. The support for the bill expressed by AG candidate George Brauchler and Rep. Mike Coffman was not enough to sway Republicans in the legislature–certainly not with RMGO acrimoniously targeting Wist and openly threatening any other Republican who got on board.

Assuming there is no miraculous change of heart, this bill will die at the hands of the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate, either in its first committee or to “die on the calendar” without a hearing as the session comes to a close Wednesday. Either way, given the overwhelming public support for this legislation this is sure to be a potent election issue in the fall. This is a fight pitting the most extreme supporters of gun rights against everyone else–including mainstream Republicans and independent voters who could go either way. Even though Republican Senators may not have to personally vote to kill the bill, voters are smart enough to understand that this is happening because Republicans control the Colorado Senate.

A high price to pay just to keep Dudley Brown happy.

This is America

No, we’re not bringing back “Friday Jams Fest” and moving it to Monday. This is just a video you need to see.

The music video below dropped late on Saturday, and it has been blowing up around the world in the 36 hours since it was released. This is “Childish Gambino” (aka Donald Glover) with “This is America.”


If you’re a little confused by the video, check out this CNN explainer or this rundown from ABC News Australia.

Trump Changes Tune on Guns (Again)

Photo via Associated Press

President Trump today delivered a speech to the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Dallas. You probably won’t be shocked to learn that he is changing his post-Parkland tune regarding potential restrictions on firearms.

As the Washington Post reports:

In his speech, Trump endorsed a top NRA priority to allow trained teachers to carry concealed weapons in schools and to install more armed security guards. Signs declaring a school as a gun-free zone, Trump said, were essentially invitations to attackers to “come in and take us,” he argued…

..He added: “Your second amendment rights are under siege but they will never ever be under siege as long as I’m your president,” Trump told NRA members, whom he referred to as patriots…[Pols emphasis]

…Friday’s speech was his first appearance before NRA members since the mass shooting at a Parkland, Fla., high school on Feb. 14, which created a new wave of momentum for the gun-control movement nationwide led by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School themselves.

The massacre also moved Trump to flirt with stricter gun measures in defiance of NRA priorities, such as raising the legal age to purchase AR-15s and similar types of rifles to 21 and expanding background checks to guns sold at shows and online. In a meeting with lawmakers, Trump even mocked Republican lawmakers over the power of the gun lobby, telling one GOP senator he was “afraid of the NRA.”

As CBS News notes, Trump also took the opportunity to thank hip hop artist Kanye West for…well, just read for yourself:

The president bounced from topic to topic, addressing everything from the importance of arming teachers, to thanking music artist Kanye West for helping double his approval ratings among African-Americans. West has expressed his support for Mr. Trump in recent days, even sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat.

“Kanye West must have some power, because you probably saw, I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week, thank you, Kanye,” the president said. “When I saw the numbers I said that must be a mistake, how did that happen?”

We have nothing more to add here.

RMGO Desperately Works To Kill “Red Flag” Bill

Denver7’s Blair Miller reports–despite bipartisan support for legislation to temporarily remove firearms from persons in a mental health crisis while preserving due process rights, Colorado’s gun lobby led by no-compromise gun rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) is working overtime to lock down Republicans against the bill. As a result, the final vote in the House has been pushed back to Friday:

The bill, introduced Monday, would allow family members or law enforcement to ask a judge for a temporary extreme risk protection order that would allow officers to take firearms and ammunition away from people deemed to be in the midst of a mental health crisis.

The temporary order would stay in place for seven days, during which the person can petition to have their weapons returned…

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and some Republicans have said the proposal is more of a gun bill and less of a mental health bill, as the bill’s proponents and state sheriffs and police organizations have said – in support of the measure.

The final recorded House vote on Friday will be a good indicator of how successful GOP backers of House Bill 18-1436 have been at winning over their own. Politically, this bill sets up a major predicament for Republicans, who have paid much lip service to the need to “focus on mental health” as a response to mass shootings in lieu of measures outlawing specific guns or gun components. Now, with just such an opportunity before them, we’ll see if Republicans really mean what they say about “focusing on mental health”–or if it’s just another deflection from politicians with no authentic desire to address gun violence.

We know that’s where RMGO stands. Now let’s find out if RMGO still owns the GOP caucus. If the right thing gets done here, we’ll be first in line to praise the Republicans responsible for making it happen.

Pleasantly surprise us for a change.