Archive for John Morse

Colorado is Pissed: Recall Edition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on September 11, 2013 by blackshepherd

The vote is over in Colorado and State Senators John Morse and Angela Giron have become the first State legislators to ever be recalled. Former Colorado Springs councilman Bernie Herpin will replace Morse and George Rivera, a former Pueblo police officer, will replace Giron.

In the midst of all of the hyperbole there are two contradictory but vital points:

Firstly, these were not overwhelming victories and they only involved a small number of voters. John Morse was defeated 51%-49% in an election that only 15% of registered voters participated in. That means he lost by around 343 votes. Angela Giron was defeated 56%-44%, in a predominantly Democrat district, although only around 30% participated in the election. The recall votes really were a knife fight in a telephone booth. Two very vocal and diametrically opposed minorities banging on each other. I am shocked that voter participation was not much higher considering the issues at stake and the amount of recall advertising that has deluged Colorado. Which leads me to the second point.

These recalls were important. Correctly or incorrectly, the gun control issue in Colorado was perceived as a sea-change in America. A western state, with a long history of gun ownership and personal freedom, was finally onboard with the “enlightened” portions of the country that restrict gun ownership. The small problem was, Colorado did not want new restrictions on firearms. The recall was the first in the 100 years since Colorado adopted the constitutional recall provision. It takes a lot to get average people that fired up. A legislative attack on freedom and inordinate amounts of outside influence seem to have done it.

Once the media was wound up it did not take long for outside money to start contesting a very small, local election. It is estimated that Michael Bloomberg contributed more than $350,000 to the anti-gun efforts while the NRA spent close to $300,000 on mailers and phone calls. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Total outside of the state donations to Giron and Morse are estimated at around $3 million. Some people in other places really wanted to make a point. That just pissed off Colorado even more than being ignored by their State Legislators.

So a small victory in a big fight, but perhaps one with a state and national importance out of proportion to its size. It will have effects on upcoming state elections, most importantly the Governor’s election. It is also a wakeup call to voters in other states. Keep an eye on your legislators. The fight is not even close to over. The same ilk of people that contributed over $3 million to anti-freedom causes have much more where that came from…

Advertisements

Colorado is Pissed: Part Three

Posted in Colorado, Firearms, freedom with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2013 by blackshepherd

Yesterday, 24 June 13, the Colorado Secretary of State certified that there are enough valid petition signatures to recall State Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo. The recall effort originally submitted 13,466 signatures. Following review by the Secretary of State’s office, 12,648 signatures were certified, exceeding the required number of 11,285.

Pueblo Freedom and Rights, the recall organization, is a grassroots organization headed by brothers Victor and Adam Head, both of whom are plumbers and union members. The organization did not use any paid petitioners. Instead, they relied on local volunteers who are furious that their representatives ignored the will of the electorate in order to advance a personal anti-gun agenda. Citizens feel that legislators are ignoring the people and are overstepping their bounds. Hence the recall.

In accordance with Colorado law, any eligible elector can file a protest with the Secretary of State within fifteen days in order to challenge the validity of the petition. Following the fifteen day time period, barring a successful protest, the Governor must set a recall election date within thirty days. I absolutely expect a legal protest to the Giron recall.(Update: A protest was filed to the recall petition shortly after certification of the requisite number of signatures. The protest is almost identical to the one filed in the Morse recall and also hinges on the language used in the petition. The protest was filed by a voter from the district, S. Douglas McMillan. A date for the hearing before the Secretary of State has yet to be set.)

A protest has already been filed in the Morse recall. Moments after the Secretary of State’s office validated the necessary 10,137 signatures necessary for the recall, Morse supporter Catherine Kleinsmith submitted a legal protest to nullify all of the signatures. The crux of the legal argument is that the language on the petition did not specifically demand the election of a successor for Morse. The protest argues that omission of that language invalidates every petition signature submitted to the state. The protest will be heard by the Secretary of State, Scott Gessler, on June 27 at a public hearing in Denver. The decision from that hearing could be challenged in the Denver District Court and possibly appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Thus far two candidates have filed paperwork with the Secretary of State’s office stating their intentions to run in the recall election. Republicans Jaxine Bubis and William Herpin must gather 1,000 signatures from voters within the district in order to have their names added to the recall ballot. In the coming weeks several more candidates are expected to announce that they will compete for the seat. If challenges to the petitions are unsuccessful, it seems likely that both the Morse and Giron recall elections will take place in late August or September. The recall elections should make Colorado pretty interesting for a while. We’ll see what happens.

Colorado is Pissed

Posted in Colorado, Concealed Carry, Firearms, Gun Control Debate, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 19, 2013 by blackshepherd

Right up front I need to say that I am trying as hard as I can to keep this blog apolitical. I want it to be welcoming to people of any and all political stripes. I truly believe that if I can get people to go to the range with someone competent then they will become responsible gun owners, at the very least responsible gun understanders. When it comes to the questions of politics, I default to the side of liberty, no matter which political party is on one side or the other. As a result, some of this post may seem to bash one political party. As one of my associates used to say after doing some business, “They brought that shit on themselves.”

I love Colorado. The weather is fantastic, the mountains are beautiful and the people here have a libertarian streak a mile-wide. They do not want anyone, especially the government, telling them how to live their lives whether that is prohibitions on marijuana or on firearms. Many citizens of Colorado feel betrayed by the recent passage of anti-gun legislation in the Colorado State House. Many long-time residents of the state are thoroughly confused about how such a thing could have even been proposed in Colorado, much less passed. The answer is demographics, political apathy, and underhanded political tactics.

I am going to eventually write a much longer post related to the demographics of Colorado. As in many states that are mostly rural, the politics of the state are dominated by the major metropolitan areas. The Denver area, especially when one includes Aurora, Boulder, and Ft. Collins, is experiencing some of the fastest population growth in the country. It votes towards the left wing. It is dragging a state that was thoroughly libertarian towards authoritarianism. When the recently passed gun-control legislation came before the state Senate only 90 minutes of testimony were allowed for each side of the debate. You see, the outcome was a foregone conclusion and those that had already made their decisions had other parts of an agenda to work on. A total of three hours was allowed to discuss limitations on a freedom named in the Bill of Rights. A freedom that Americans have died for since America was an idea and not a country. That is disgusting.

This sorry state of affairs came about because of political apathy. Normal citizens have lives to lead. They are busy trying to make a living, take care of their homes and feed their children. In Colorado the libertarian streak I wrote about plays a large part in how people relate to each other and the government. The typical attitude is, “Hey man, you don’t mess with me and I won’t mess with you, I might not even pay you that much attention.” Well, the state government has messed with people and they are furious. One of the best ways to get Americans to do something is to tell them they cannot (See Prohibition for historical reference). Anything that looks like an AR pattern rifle flies off of the shelves of gun stores. One has not been able to buy ammunition at normal cost for months. Most ammunition can be had but at double its normal price, and people are still buying it. The only thing in stock at most stores is 20 gauge target rounds and .270. Average people are stockpiling magazines whenever and wherever they can find them. This is indicative of a population that is distrustful of not just the government but what the future holds. I have never seen anything like it in my whole life.

In response to this widespread dissatisfaction with the recent gun legislation 54 of 64 Colorado county sheriffs have signed onto a federal lawsuit against the state of Colorado. The sheriffs are arguing that the new laws are in violation of the 2nd and 14th Amendments, as well as being nearly impossible to enforce.

“We each took an oath. The line in the sand has been drawn, and we will stand united,” said El Paso Sheriff, Terry Maketa

Hell yeah…

Sheriff’s lawsuit   Sheriff’s Lawsuit 2

Also in response to the nature of these laws, and the manner in which they were passed, efforts are underway to recall three state senators and one state representative who were integral to the process. True grass-roots efforts, started by folks that have no political experience, are underway to recall Colorado Senate President John Morse, State Senators Evie Hudak and Angela Giron, and State Representative Mike McLachlan. Efforts may also be in the offing to recall State Representative Rhonda Fields, who sponsored two of the recent gun bills. In order to recall a Colorado politician, the recall effort must get a number of valid signatures (real people of voting age that actually live in the district in question) to 25 percent of the total number of ballots cast in the election of the politician being recalled.

Senator Morse says he’s not worried:

“What they’re accusing us all of is passing sensible gun legislation that 90 percent of the public supports, so how does that work to get 50 percent to [vote for a] recall?” Morse asked.

I’ll tell you how it works Senator Morse, claiming that you had 90 percent of the public behind your proposals makes you a liar. I have personally met NO ONE that supports this gun control legislation. I live in a slightly more rural part of the state but it is it possible that I am only surrounded by the very small minority that is opposed to to this legislation? Conversely, everyone I engage in conversation on the topic is irate. Senator Morse, you knew that your claimed numbers of supporters was vastly exaggerated. You also knew that what support you did have was waning as the emotions from the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings died down. That is why you rushed these laws through the process before the average citizen of Colorado knew what was happening. Prepare to reap what you have sown.

Senator Morse can claim that he is not worried but he should be. Yesterday I walked into a local gun shop in Colorado Springs. There was a very nice lady meeting people in the doorway and asking them to sign the recall petition. She was doing a booming business. I questioned her about the process and the issues. She was articulate and well-informed about all of the issues and the political process. She also said that the recall effort already has the requisite number of signatures. Now they are trying to collect extras to ensure a buffer in case any signatures are disallowed.  I explained that I do not live in the correct district to sign the petition but thanked her profusely for what she was doing. If this is the caliber of volunteer that is working on the recall, then Senator Morse should be very worried indeed. The recall efforts website is available here: Basic Freedom Defense Fund

Some of the other recall targets may be a little more concerned. Apparently Senator Evie Hudak had a conniption-fit about people collecting petition signatures outside of the grocery store where she shops. She complained to the store management, referring to the store as “my store.” Why should she understand the implications of the 1st Amendment when she certainly does not understand those of the 2nd Amendment?

State Representative Mike McLachlan is not a student of the US Constitution either. On his recall website he is quoted as saying:

“…the right of the First Amendment is not absolute. It is like every right in that in the proper circumstances the government may infringe, take away, or completely reduce that right.”

We discussed legitimate governmental restriction of rights in “Gun Debate Parts One and Two.” Legitimate restrictions are not what he was referring to. How the hell do these people get elected? Mostly political apathy. Hopefully that is a situation that is about to be rectified.

Colorado Recalls     Colorado Recalls 2