REPORT FROM CAPITOL HILL | How I Voted on Proposed Gun Control Measures
by State Sen. Senator Ellen Roberts
Mar 13, 2013 | 875 views | 1 1 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

We voted on the gun control bills on Monday and the bills now go back to the House, if they were amended in the Senate or, if unamended, they now go to the governor for his consideration. For those who still want to make their views known before the bills are signed into law, you should contact your state representative and the governor.

I voted against all of them except the bill requiring some portion of training for a concealed carry weapon permit be taken in person, rather than solely online. I have eight sheriffs in my district and, after talking with all but one, I felt that this bill has some merit. The Democratic bill sponsor of that particular bill repeatedly stated that she didn’t view her bill as being part of any package as she, too, didn’t support the House gun control bills.

The gun control bill package put forth in the past week will, in the words of the sheriffs, do nothing to improve public safety and are, practically speaking, unenforceable. That didn’t prevent them from passing.

Any proposed bill that affects a constitutional right such as the right to keep and bear arms must be taken very seriously. We vote on over 600 bills a year and only a few are particularly memorable.  These bills will impact citizens’ basic constitutional rights and I was grateful to have heard from so many of you as it’s very important that you have followed what has gone on at the Capitol.  

Especially since I urged people at the Durango and Cortez townhall meetings to come to the Capitol to testify on the gun control bills, I must apologize to those of you who traveled to Denver a week ago to do just that, but were denied that opportunity due to arbitrary limitations imposed by the Senate Democratic leadership. Quite frankly, that was shameful.

In seven years at the Capitol, I’ve never seen citizens denied the right to testify and made to choose between competing hearings on the same topic. That competing scheduling was not an accidental oversight, it was deliberate, I’m sorry and discouraged that that was the unjust treatment citizens received and it understandably contributes to the cynicism and distrust that people have in their elected officials.

In arriving at my votes cast on your behalf, I strongly considered the input from my district.  The constituent input was striking both in quantity and content. Over 92 percent of those in touch with me opposed the bills and we heard from well over 500 constituents.  I did my best to relate your reasons and personal stories to the rest of the senators, especially those who are unfamiliar with the rural and remote areas of the state.

However, I didn’t stop with sticking my finger in the air to see which way the wind blows in my district.  I studied data, (often conflicting), read relevant court decisions, attended debates, sat in on committee hearings to hear testimony and talked with those most knowledgeable as to the practical impacts of implementing the bills if passed.  All of this led me to the votes I made on your behalf.  There’s no pleasing everyone, but I stand by my votes and, again, I thank all of you who took the time to be in touch.

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March 17, 2013
Thanks, Senator Roberts, for opposing HB13-1229 and HB13-1224. Thanks also for opposing giving illegal immigrants lower tuition than most American citizens can get.

As you point out, the gun bills will not do anything to prevent another Newtown and they are unenforceable.

Seemingly, their sole purpose is to upset law-abiding Americans who believe in the Heller interpretation of the 2nd Amendment.

Any chance criminals are going to be impeded by a "background" check between friends and relatives? Already, criminals get most of their guns by theft and straw purchases. Are criminals going to stop and call the FBI the next time they have a gun transaction? Hardly.

Do you have any explanation about why those who were shipped to the Capitol by Bloomberg's money --eg the mayor of Telluride-- were allowed to testify, but those opposing the bills who drove all the way from Cortez and Durango were not?

Is it fair to say that the Democratic leadership from Hickenlooper on down deliberately manipulated the system so that those opposed to their anti-constitutional views would not have a chance to speak?

Hopefully, the 92% who contacted you strongly opposing these terrible bills will remember who voted for what in 2014 and how the Democrats rigged the system.

What we are witnessing, most unfortunately, is the trampling of established law by Democrats. They are buying Hispanic votes by actually encouraging illegal immigration and they are doing their best to disarming law-abiding, sane, American citizens.

Keep fighting the good fight, Senator Roberts!