Gun violence continues to escalate and expand its reach. In just five weeks, we in Colorado lost three law enforcement officers. In the last five months, the nation has experienced three horrendous mass shootings: the massacre of concert goers in Las Vegas, the slaughter of worshippers in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and on Wednesday the mass murder of teenagers and teachers at a high school in Parkland, Florida.
Wednesday was both St. Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday. A day to revel in love, and a day of contemplation for Christians. It was also a day when many of us sat in the corridors of the state capitol waiting to speak out against weakening our gun laws, time punctuated by intermittent updates of the carnage in the Florida school. We were where the voice of the people should find action, but it didn’t.
The next morning, Rabbi Joe Black of Temple Emanuel, Denver, opened the Colorado House of Representatives with the following prayer: READ MORE
Lie-In Wednesday at Noon
Three bills to weaken gun laws will be heard tomorrow at the state capitol.
Beforehand, Ceasefire is holding a Lie-In to remember the 17 students and teachers at Parkland High School and to demand an end to the slaughter. It is time for our elected leaders to enact laws to save lives. Seventeen volunteers will lie for 3 minutes, the amount of time it took the gunman to buy his assault rifle. Join us!
When: Noon, Wednesday, February 21
Where: West Steps, State Capitol
Wear: Warm clothes. Prediction is for partly sunny day with low of 12 deg. High of 31 deg.
A short program will precede the lie-in. Several legislators will speak.
Denver Bans Bump Stocks
Colorado Ceasefire applauds the Denver City Council for banning the sale and possession of bump stocks. Focus now turns to state legislature. SB18-051 Ban on Multi-Burst Firearms Devices (Bump Stocks news release) Sponsored by Sen. Merrifield. What is a bump stock…article from New York Times
One proactive bill has been introduced this year:
One bipartisan bill to address the increased rate of firearms thefts: HB18-1077 Increased Penalties for Stolen Firearms Sponsored by Reps. Valdez and Liston.
Colorado Legislature: Bills Introduced
Colorado Common Sense Gun Laws Could be at Risk. (news release)
Afterwards, you might want to join us in the hearings on the following 3 despicable, deplorable, and destructive bills. 1:30 p.m. Room 271 (by the elevators)
- HB18-1037 Guns in Schools (Neville/Neville) Would allow anyone with a CCW permit to carry their guns into a public K-12 school.
- HB18-1074 Use of Deadly Force in business (Everett/Marble) 13th year of this Stand Your Ground bill
- HB18-1015 Repeal of High Capacity Magazine Ban (Humphrey and Saine/Hill) Repeals the 2013 law.
Ceasefire adamantly OPPOSES each of these bills.
If you haven’t contacted House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee members yet, please do so TODAY!
Please vote NO on allowing any concealed carry permit holder to carry guns into our public schools.
This proposal endangers our children. I also ask that you vote NO on expanding immunity for the use of deadly force from our homes to places of business. Furthermore, in 2013, Colorado wisely chose to limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds. Please keep it that way. I will be watching your votes. People to contact here
Ceasefire adamantly opposes this proposal as it means there is no background check, no sheriff’s discretion and no training. Everyone could get up and decide for him or herself whether they are good to go to be armed on our streets.
Please contact the following members of the committee to urge them to vote NO on Concealed Handgun carry without permit SB18-097.
- Vicki Marble (R-Broomfield) 303-866-4876 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling) 303-866-6360 email@example.com
- Lois Court (D-Denver) 303-866-4861 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder) 303-866-4872 email@example.com
- Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) 303-866-2737 firstname.lastname@example.org
The following day (Thursday, Feb. 15th, after adjournment in LSB-A (Legislative Services Building)) is the bipartisan bill HB18-1077. Spurred by the dramatic up-tick in gun store thefts (smash and grab), this bill would increase the penalty for gun burglaries. Although we support this bill, it is tepid support. We believe that these robberies would be more effectively stopped by gun stores locking up their merchandise in the afterhours.
The House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee has scheduled a hearing on Wednesday, February 21st (1:30 p.m. room 271) for 3 bills:
- HB18-1037 (Neville/Neville) Guns in Schools – allows anyone with a concealed carry (CCW) permit to take their handguns into K-12 public schools. Ceasefire is extremely super opposed to this measure.
- HB18-1074 (Everett/Marble) Use of Deadly Force in business location. This is the 13th year for this idea to come forward. This is a Stand Your Ground bill, that is, it provides for immunity from criminal prosecution and civil liability for the use of deadly force if a business owner or employee felt threatened, no matter how slight. Current law provides for self-defense, but without such blanket immunity. Ceasefire opposes.
- HB18-1015 (Saine and Humphrey/Hill) Repeal Magazine Ban. After the Aurora Theater and Sandy Hook Massacres, Colorado banned the sale and purchase of ammunition magazines over 15 rounds. The Aurora Shooter had a 100-round drum magazine. This is the 5th year gun enthusiasts have endeavored to repeal the magazine ban. Ceasefire strongly opposes.
- SB18-052 Repeal High Capacity Magazine Ban (Hill/Saine and Humphrey) Still not scheduled.
- SB18-051 Ban on Multi-burst Trigger Activators (Bump Stock Ban) (Merrifield) will be heard on Monday, February 26th at 1:30 in SCR 357. Would ban devices that provide multi-burst firings, such as the ones used in the Las Vegas. The slaughter perpetrated on Las Vegas concert goers last October was amplified by the shooter having equipped 12 of his guns with bump stocks. Those devices, which are easily and cheaply obtained via the internet, allowed the shooter to rain bullets on men, women and children at the rate of 90 bullets per 10 seconds. Fifty-eight died and more than five-hundred were wounded. Sales of bump stocks soared after the massacre.
Background Checks Fix
The Sutherland Springs, Texas shooter had a domestic violence conviction, but was able to obtain firearms, because not all agencies and departments of the federal government are doing what they are supposed to be doing – handing on criminal records to the National Instant Check Background Check System. S. 2135, sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is a bi-partisan bill to force compliance. It was introduced November 15th, but our senator Cory Gardner has yet to sign on as a co-sponsor. Even President Trump signals he is in favor (how could one be against such a proposal).
Foreign donations to U.S. political campaigns are illegal, but since Citizen’s United, there are ways to fund campaigns where donor information is hidden. McClatchy News reports that the FBI is investigating whether Russian monies were given to the NRA for campaigning for Donald Trump.
Three sheriff’s deputies have been shot and killed in the last 5 weeks. We are angered and saddened by these deaths of those who have chosen professions to ensure the safety of the populace. The deaths illustrate just a portion of the myriad of situations of gun violence. Read more here.
Post-Sutherland Springs Fix NICS – The Denver City Council recently voted to ban the sale and possession of bump stocks in Denver. The following morning, Ceasefire joined with Sen. Merrifield and others for a press conference to promote SB18-051. We need to extend that ban across the state to protect all our citizens. Use the action box at the top of this message to ask your senator to support and pass the bump stock ban sponsored by Sen. Merrifield.
On November 5th of this past year in 25 people were shot and killed at a Sunday morning church service in the tiny town of Sutherland Texas. In the aftermath, authorities discovered that while in the Air Force, the shooter had been convicted of domestic violence, which is a prohibiting offense for firearms purchases. Unfortunately, the Air Force failed to record his conviction on the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), enabling the shooter to readily obtain firearms. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has introduced a bipartisan bill S. 2135 to require federal agencies and departments to turn criminal data over to the NICS system. Sen. Michael Bennet has signed on as a co-sponsor, but Sen. Cory Gardner has not. Why not? This is a no-brainer; background checks are disabled by missing data, and people died as a consequence. Please call Sen. Gardner and insist that he sign on as a co-sponsor of S. 2135. Senator Cory Gardner: 202-224-5941 303-391-5777
The Denver Post notes that violence in Denver continues at high levels. There were 56 homicides in 2017 and 2016, and already in 2018 there have been 13 homicide victims, 12 of which were by gunfire.
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