Senate candidates talk gun-control legislation |

Senate candidates talk gun-control legislation

Republican Don Suppes

EAGLE COUNTY — A quartet of gun-control bills passed in 2013 by the Colorado Legislature cost three state senators their jobs. That’s the root of this week’s emailed question to the candidates for Colorado Senate District 5, which includes Eagle County.

This will no doubt depend on which party controls the Colorado Senate in the 2015 session, but: Should the legislature take another look at the gun-control bills passed in 2013? If so, how?

Kerry Donovan: We must take a multifaceted approach to the issue of gun violence in a way that keeps our families safe while protecting the rights of Coloradans to keep and bear arms and acknowledge the importance of our hunting economy to Senate District 5.

It’s clear to many of us out west that the 15-round magazine limit passed by Denver is an unenforceable law. I would not have supported that law if I were in the State Senate when it was being voted on.

It’s also clear that we should keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and those with violent backgrounds. The majority of Coloradans on the Western Slope and in the Arkansas Valley support background checks that keep weapons away from criminals such as convicted domestic violence offenders.

However, we have not done enough as a state to reduce the burden of these laws on the small-business owners ordered to facilitate private-to-private background checks. A gun shop owner in Basalt expressed concern to me because the state has provided little to no guidance in implementing the new rules. This not only burdens his business but also his conscience.

In 2012, Colorado boosted mental health funding by injecting nearly $20 million into programs expanding crisis stabilization services. After years of delay, crisis hotlines have opened, providing 24/7 access to dedicated counselors for anyone who is suffering. This is a step toward making up for years of neglecting those vulnerable to committing acts of violence toward themselves or others.

Additionally, Safe2Tell, which allows for anonymous reporting of threatening behavior in schools, secured additional funding. We should expand this program to more comprehensibly address violence in our schools. We’re better together, and I am eager to work with gun-rights and gun-safety advocates to honor our liberties and keep our families safe.

Don Suppes: “[T]he right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The Second Amendment of our Constitution is one of the most important statements made by our founding fathers. As a trustee and now mayor, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. As your state senator, I will continue to fight to safeguard our constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

In 2013, my opponent called the Democrat senate’s gun-control legislation “sensible;” now she calls it “unenforceable.” As your state senator, I will never flip-flop on a constitutional right.

Not only should the gun bills from 2013 be re-visited, they should be repealed. They are unconstitutional, unenforceable and like most knee-jerk legislation, they unintentionally punish the law-abiding citizen instead of the criminal.

The Second Amendment is about self-defense and protection of life, liberty and property, not merely hunting. As your state senator, I’ll fight to restore all of our Second Amendment rights.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, and @scottnmiller.

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