Colorado Gun Ban Stopped by Recall Aftershocks

After the immense amount of Bloomberg money, old media airtime and Obama administration political capital was spent on enacting restrictive gun legislation in Colorado last year, the electorate rebelled. Grassroots campaigns led by people who had never been involved in politics beat the establishment. Two legislators were recalled. A third, thought to be in a safe Democratic district, resigned under pressure in order to save the Democrat majority in the State Senate. The political establishment was shaken and aftershocks continue to reverberate . . .

As part of the establishment push to disarm the population, an organization was formed to place a referendum on the ballot to ban firearms on college campuses. The Colorado Supreme Court had ruled that concealed carry was OK in the halls of higher learning in 2012. Spearheaded by Ken Tolz, a long-time proponent of citizen disarmament, Safe Campus Colorado had six months to gather 86,000 signatures for its initiative. I have not found where the funding for the signature drive came from.

The gun control group says it has gathered sufficient signatures to place the gun ban on the ballot. But they also say that they won’t do so. From Colorado Pubic Radio, Tolz is quoted:

“By having this on the ballot, it brings back to prominence some of the feelings that existed last year and we don’t want to get caught up in that environment,” he says.

David Kopel, who is representing 55 sheriffs in a lawsuit against the new gun laws, puts it more bluntly:

“It’s eminently sensible and prudent for the Democratic establishment in Colorado in 2014 to say we don’t want a gun ballot issue out there,” Kopel says. “Whatever happens with that ballot issue, it’s going bring more pro-gun voters to the polls and then once they are at the polls to vote on the gun issue, they will probably vote also in the candidate races for the more pro-gun candidates.”

How much money was spent on an initiative that will now be flushed down the memory hole? The recent Marijuana initiative, which was likely considerably more popular, cost $211,000 to get on the ballot.  If the same dynamics applied, the campus ban effort surely cost as much. A nice chunk of change for a disarmed population group, but not a huge amount for someone like, say, Michael Bloomberg.

That’s assuming that the group’s leaders are telling the truth. A truly Machiavellian political activist would merely claim that they had sufficient signatures, but were sacrificing their effort for the greater good of the party, even if they’d fallen short. What better way to gain credit with the Democrat political establishment at little or no cost? As the signatures will not be turned in, there is no way to be sure.

Still, the failure of this initiative to make it on the ballot is another one of the aftershocks is clearly the result of last year’s grass-roots revolution that held gun-grabbing representatives to account for their votes. I expect more to come in November. I do not think that the people’s memories are as short as Governor Hickenlooper seems to believe.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Gun Watch