Editorial: Time to speak up is now
February 19, 2013
It's likely many Moffat County residents woke up Tuesday feeling a bit helpless — and certainly frustrated — at the recent flurry of gun control-related legislation making its way through the state Capitol in Denver.
With Democrats controlling both chambers of the General Assembly as well as the governor's mansion, the numbers are in their favor when it comes time for pushing the four latest gun control bills through the Senate and then on to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper. But it's easier said than done.
Even in the House, where Democrats enjoy a nine-person majority, three of the four gun bills just squeaked by with votes of 34-31, 34-31 and 33-32. Supporters of the legislation should expect an even tougher test in the Senate, where the Democrats' majority is just five.
Moffat County residents need not worry about how their state senator will vote. Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Cowdrey, has been steadfast in his opposition to the gun control measures, and he vowed this week to continue to fight the legislation in Denver.
But he and his GOP colleagues will need to convince at least three Democrats to jump ship on each of the four bills to have a chance at defeating them. Here's where Moffat County residents can play a role.
It's a message we often relay come Election Day, but it's worth reminding citizens nonetheless: Make your voices heard and stand up for your beliefs. Call Baumgardner's office at 303-866-5292 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask what you can do to lobby against — or for, if that's your position — the gun control legislation.
There still is time to affect the vote. The four bills might not appear on the Senate floor for several weeks, or it could be sooner. But because we know how passionate many Moffat County residents are about this issue, we suggest that now is not the time to delay.
The Moffat County Commissioners have authored a resolution affirming the constitutional right of residents here to bear arms. That resolution comes on the heels of a packed Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots meeting in Craig during which Sheriff Tim Jantz spoke against legislation that would impact law-abiding gun owners. He instead urged for improved focus on upholding existing gun laws, and for lawmakers to postpone any new gun control legislation.
It should be noted that the commissioners' resolution is symbolic only, and that Jantz's pleas weren't heard by the Democrats leading for the bills' passage in the House. With the numbers working against them, opponents of the gun control bills — including residents here in Moffat County — should speak up now if they hope to have any impact before the changes are potentially codified in state law.