By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
A Republican lawmaker is outraged that Democrats killed a bill that would have declared that any firearms made and retained in Colorado are beyond the control of Congress.
Sen. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, said the bill was about state’s rights, not so much about firearms. He believes it is necessary to challenge the federal government’s “overreach into what our founding fathers deemed as state issues.”
“It is time to challenge the D.C. bureaucrats who regulate everything and anything under the guise of commerce,” Schultheis said in a statement. “I had hoped Democrat legislators in Colorado would have the courage to stand up for our state.”
The bill was killed late Wednesday on a 3-2 party-line vote in the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.
Democrats called the bill “unconstitutional.”
“It’s also not one of the most pressing issues facing the state right now,” Senate Democrats said in a statement e-mailed to the Denver Daily News. “We are focused on getting the economy back on track and getting people back to work.”
Unlike Schultheis, gun control advocate Tom Mauser, who lost his son Daniel in the horrific Columbine High School massacre, likened the issue not to constitutional issues, but to gun control. He said the bill would have created a loophole in gun control laws, which could have opened the door to an unregulated gun market in Colorado.
“Anytime you have a loophole, it’s possible for anything to happen,” he said.
He pointed out that if an automobile is made in Colorado, it is still subject to federal regulations.
“If an automobile was made in Colorado would you say it’s not subject to federal motor carrier laws?” asked Mauser. “No. It’s really a ludicrous position.”
Schultheis’ bill stems from a national movement known as the Firearms Freedom Act, in which conservatives are attempting to pass similar legislation in states across the nation. The movement started when Montana passed a Firearms Freedom Act. Similar legislation has also been enacted in Tennessee.
Montana’s law is currently being challenged by the federal government.
“This bill is simply about getting the federal government to recognize state’s rights as recognized by the constitution,” said Schultheis. “This vote is indicative of the Democrats’ political philosophy, which promotes federal government authority over state’s rights and tramples on liberties intentionally proscribed by the authors of our constitution.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters