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Colorado and New York respond to stricter gun control laws

September 11, 2013

Boton_malIt has been an interesting week for Colorado and New York. Both states which have implemented tougher gun control laws. Now it also appears both states are experiencing backlash for doing so.

In Colorado there was a grassroots effort to recall two legislators after they led the fight for stricter gun control laws. The two recalled legislators were Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron. This recall may have started out grassroots, however millions of dollars poured in from outside sources supporting both sides of the recall. It is no surprise so much money was put into this recall effort. This from TPM:

The election results will be interpreted nationally as an important marker in the ongoing conflict between advocates and opponents of tightening gun restrictions. Indeed, the national view was that the recalls were an indicator as to whether national pro-gun groups had found a new way to fight gun restrictions. Observers and those involved in the recall elections said that if both Morse and Giron were recalled, pro-gun groups would look to use the same type of recall formula elsewhere in the country. That’s why prominent national gun control groups like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns got involved. The two sides pumped millions of dollars into the races.

I agree with the assessment that recalls will be a new tool used by citizens against elected officials. But I would say it will likely go beyond Second Amendment issues. With the success of this recall I expect grassroots efforts in states will be used to recall legislators that fail to nullify unconstitutional federal laws. Recalling legislators that don’t follow the constitution is simply another form of nullification itself. It will be interesting to see how often this tool will be used in the future.

Colorado is not the only the only state to implement stricter gun control laws. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo took advantage of recent shootings to quickly pass new gun control restrictions. Luckily the Sherrifs around New York (outside of the big city) are not happy with the new restrictions. Here is a snippet from The Daily Star:

The New York State Sheriffs Association and five individual sheriffs have joined a court effort to block enforcement of new bullet limits for magazines and firearms restrictions.

Schoharie County Sheriff Tony Desmond said he has no intention of enforcing the law, and that his office won’t do anything that would cause law-abiding citizens to turn in their weapons or arrest them for possessing firearms.

“I’m not going back on my personal conviction,” he said. Residents have told him this is what they want, he said, and “I’ve stood up for them, and I will continue to do so.”

It is important to take not that Sheriffs are elected officials, so the Governors office has no direct control over them. There is a possibility the sheriffs in question could lose their re-election due to their actions. That however is unlikely because outside of New York City there is very little support for stricter gun control. Since passing the laws Cuomo’s numbers have dropped dramatically outside of the city. If the Republicans can find a viable candidate they may be able to oust Cuomo next election cycle.

The Colorado and New York cases are not unrelated. Actually both are symptoms of the same problem. Colorado and New York both have very large cities that typically vote Democrat and believe in stricter gun control laws. However outside of the big cities the people tend to vote less liberal (although not necessarily Republican) and have a deep belief in gun rights. The two groups are not just of differing opinions; both groups have different cultures to back up their beliefs.

The cases are also related because they show individuals caring about individual rights have new tools in the fight for personal liberties. As time goes on I hope more grassroots movements and Sheriff’s will choose to nullify attacks upon civil liberties. That may do more to restrict government expansion than any other step taken in the last century.

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