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THE STATE OF COLORADO

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The State of Colorado, along with some others, is Ground Zero for national anti-gun legislative efforts this session. While it appears at first glance that the proposed bills are full of unintended consequences, it’s more likely they are being crafted with malice aforethought. For instance, Colorado guides and outfitters are being warned by their out-of-state clients that they will boycott Colorado if four specific anti-gun bills are passed into law this session.

Right now, those bills include: a ban on the sale, transfer or possession of any standard-capacity magazines for modern sport utility/self-defense rifles, pistols and shotguns in excess of 10 rounds (modified to 15, and 8 for shotguns, but the limits can be changed back); a ban on concealed carry on any college campus or facility by carry-concealed permit holders (such carry is currently legal in Colorado due to a state Supreme Court decision); a poll tax on gun buyers’ background checks (which is now paid by the state) with no upper limit; and criminalization of all firearms transfers between individuals (immediate family excepted) without a state level background check, through a gun dealer (whether they are willing to do it or not). Other legislative proposals include "safe storage" (lock your gun up at all times) or be held strictly liable, including manufacturers; slapping mental health holds on people, then seizing their firearms; and the same with simply charging someone with "domestic violence" and seizing their firearms. Good luck getting them back!

What should be our response? Let's first expand on the comments made to the Colorado guides and outfitters. Use e-mail and other social networks to contact all hunters, shooters and sportsmen and women nation-wide who come to Colorado to hunt (whether guided or not) or would like to in the future, and have them contact Colorado (and in your own states, if you are facing the same anti-gun legislative issues) state senators and house representatives. Contact information can be found on the Internet for any state using several search terms like “state legislature,” “state senators” and “state representatives.” Why the House members? Because more anti-gun bills are coming from the Senate, such as "safe storage," “mental health," plus modifications to "carry concealed" training and "domestic violence" issues previously mentioned.

Next, out-of state hunters should then contact anyone involved in the commercial aspect of the Colorado hunting industry and state their intention not to hunt in Colorado, nor purchase any of their services or products for use in the state, because these laws will affect them travelling in or through the state, and that they will go to a more gun-friendly Western state or even stay home. Be sure to include the tourism and lodging interests, including restaurant chains, as well as the petroleum industry in the list of contacts. Encourage these interests to contact their Colorado public officials, to include county commissioners and the elected officials (mayors and city council members) of every small, medium and large community in the state, especially where hunting is done, in the rural areas, and tell them what a devastating impact this will have on their local economies.

Hunting in Colorado is worth at least $1.3 billion dollars per year to the state's economy and the roll-over effects in local communities range from $2.1 billion dollars, according to the latest figures, up to an estimated high of $3 billion dollars per year. Is the State of Colorado (or any other state) ready to lose that much income, particularly in rural areas, due to rabid anti-gun legislation being promoted by the Obama administration's anti-gun interests? I think not. If they are, then they are willing to impose much greater restrictions on law-abiding gun owners in order to advance their anti-gun agenda, and need to be removed from power.

Steve Schreiner