By: Robert Davis
During the opening session of Colorado’s 72nd General Assembly, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Douglas) issued a concise, fact-based rebuttal to the Democrats’ plan to pass gun control legislation while they hold the majority in all three branches of state government.
Before Leader Neville spoke before the House, newly elected Speaker KC Becker told the legislative body that gun violence is an “epidemic we must address,” likening the issue to that of opioid addiction.
“Coloradoans are marching in the streets and taking to the halls of the capitol, and they are demanding action on gun sense legislation. That’s why we must work together to pass the lifesaving Extreme Risk Protection Order bill,” Becker said to the raucous applause of Democrats in attendance.
Gunpowder Magazine has reported that Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs), "otherwise known as 'red flag laws,' make it legal for law enforcement to enter your home and seize your guns. Hundreds of Americans in Florida, Maryland, and Oregon have already had their guns taken. GPM reported earlier this year that police invaded the home of a New Jersey veteran while he was at work and tried to seize his guns based on a conversation a child overheard at school. In Maryland, cops shot a killed a man while trying to serve an Extreme Risk Protection Order at his home."
“Before Colorado was a state, it was a frontier,” Neville countered. “And that frontier spirit produced a constitution that made the right of gun ownership and self-defense explicit. Nevertheless, when killers use guns, some people advocate curtailing those rights.”
Neville responded to the Speaker’s remarks with facts rather than rhetoric. He cited a study from the Colorado Regional Economic Analysis Project (CoREAP) showing the state’s population has increased 27 percent since 1993; statistics from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) showing that gun ownership nationwide has increased 56 percent; and statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showing that the number of gun homicides per 100,000 resident has been cut in half from 7 to 3.6.
Neville also warned that legislation restricting the right to gun ownership is ripe for abuse.
“New laws that prevent the mentally ill from owning weapons are so badly written and open to abuse, they are more likely to rob the innocent of their ability to defend themselves than to prevent the mentally ill from killing,” Neville said.
“While we are willing to look closely at such bills, we are not willing to leave the innocent defenseless so that we might feel good about ourselves.”
Democrats introduced the Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill during the 2018 regular session. It was postponed indefinitely by the Senate Committee on State, Veterans, & Military Affairs during the last week of session.
Robert Davis is a general assignment reporter for Gunpowder Magazine. Contact him at RobertDavis0414@gmail.com.