Both have been hotbeds of anti-gun political activity, but the Centennial State’s gun prohibitionists have so far proved more adept at pushing legislation and more inept in their public statements than their contemporaries north of the Columbia River. While it is tempting to suggest that anti-gun Democrats in both states have been smoking too much weed, gun rights activists have avoided the smear, instead letting gun prohibitionists do all the talking.
In Colorado, remarks from at least three anti-gun lawmakers lately have possibly done more harm to their cause than anything gun rights proponents could possibly have said.
Take State Rep. Joe Salazar (D-31st District), who stunned a public hearing on legislation to ban concealed carry on college campuses when he suggested that women would be far better off without guns to defend against sexual assault.
“It’s why we have call boxes,” he blurted. “It’s why we have safe zones. It’s why we have whistles.”
State Senator Evie Hudak’s (D-Westminster) insensitive remarks to rape victim Amanda Collins, who courageously testified about the gun ban legislation before the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee made national news. She told Collins, “I just want to say that, actually statistics are not on your side even if you had a gun. And, chances are that if you would have had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you.
"The Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence says that for every one woman who used a handgun to kill someone in self-defense, 83 were murdered by them,” the senator added for good measure.
It was not clear where that coalition got its data. Hudak later reportedly apologized to Collins, but the damage was done.
Firearms law scholar and author Dave Kopel was quoted by the Denver Post observing, “It was outrageous.” He criticized Hudak’s “self-righteous, ignorant bigotry.”
Kopel is a frequent speaker at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference and his criticism hit the bull’s eye. The bigotry he addressed is the same sort of thing Washington gun owners have faced, but the efforts of gun prohibitionists here were derailed largely because of an embarrassing revelation about a provision allowing warrantless searches by law enforcement of the homes of gun owners in the proposed “assault weapons” ban measure.
When the bill’s sponsors pleaded ignorance, this column dug back through the records and found where the same provision had been included in earlier versions of the same legislation. Many people were surprised at the invasive nature of the proposal.
The Washington Times headlined a piece about how Colorado’s gun law proposals were “trashing the constitution.” Most of the anti-gun laws introduced in Olympia did not survive a deadline several days ago, but a couple of bills remain. Gun rights activists here have argued that various regulatory schemes in Washington also attempt to trash the constitution.
It may be just coincidence, but both states are dominated by urban Democrats who are invariably the source of the anti-gun legislation, and who believe they can buy elections with support from big money donors.