Colorado Politics reporter Marianne Goodland’s Feb. 1 piece on Democratic gun-control proposals (“Safe gun storage campaign launches ahead of legislation from General Assembly”) makes a sham of journalism.
Sheriff Justin Smith should be commended for his “safe storage” public service announcement to reduce firearms theft. However, Goodland associated the sheriff’s well-intended effort with laws that punish gun owners when thieves steal their guns. I doubt that Sheriff Smith appreciates seeing his efforts so grotesquely twisted when he led dozens of Colorado sheriffs in a lawsuit to roll back gun-control legislation in 2013, a fact Goodland failed to mention.
She gave Democratic Rep. Monica Duran a free pass to equate Sheriff Smith’s PSA with her punitive measures: “What’s great about both our campaigns, and our bill, is that it’s education. I don’t see any difference in what we’re trying to do; we’re just coming at it from different sides.” I would say a PSA encouraging law-abiding citizens to be more aware is 180 degrees away from threatening them with fines and imprisonment.
Incredibly, Goodland allowed Duran to claim she was working with the National Rifle Association, who she said had “provided suggestions.” I worked with the NRA for three decades; they’re unequivocally opposed to such mandatory “safe-storage” laws. I can only imagine what suggestions they contributed, but Goodland is satisfied to let Duran speak for them.
Goodland allowed Rep. Kyle Mullica to characterize penalties as “minor,” but violation of their “safe-storage” law would be a Class 2 misdemeanor. So is arson and theft, which can get you up to 12 months in jail — but “only if prosecutors want to make that case,” Duran assured us. Whew, that’s a relief.
Similarly, failure to report a stolen firearm within 48 hours would be a Class 3 misdemeanor — just like prostitution. Reporting the theft of a gun does nothing to protect the public, but jailing a victim of crime for failing to report it will certainly ruin an otherwise lawful citizen’s life.
In the future, perhaps Goodland will consider getting a response from people like the NRA, instead of taking anti-gun lawmakers’ word. Once upon a time, journalists were taught to do that in college.
The author was the creator and longtime creative director of America’s 1st Freedom magazine, a National Rifle Association publication that covers political, legal and social issues surrounding the Second Amendment for 700,000 member-subscribers.
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