State Rep. Justin Everett, R-District 22, held his first town hall meeting as an elected official, and the tense political climate at the state Capitol was reflected in several contentious exchanges.
Several people present, including Everett’s Democratic challenger in last November’s election, Mary Parker, challenged Everett on his opposition to gun-control legislation. The discussion became heated at times, with Everett and the gun-control advocates talking over each other.
One person brought up Everett’s co-sponsorship of House Bill 1187, which would make any new gun laws passed on a federal level unenforceable in Colorado. It would also make it a misdemeanor for a federal official to enforce new gun regulations in Colorado.
Everett said he signed up as a co-sponsor of the bill before it was introduced to protect citizens’ Second Amendment rights. “You may not want them,” Everett said. “But once they disappear, you can’t get them back.”
Everett said he had never hidden his stance on gun control and ran for office as a staunch pro-gun candidate. He also pointed out that he defeated Parker by nine points in a difficult year for Republicans as a sign that a majority of constituents support his positions.
“I don’t think I ever kept any of my positions hidden,” Everett said. “I am who I am.”
During the discussion, Everett identified one person, Helen Hurt, to the audience when she asked a question about his opposition to gun regulations. After Hurt asked her question, Everett noted she was a supporter of Parker and had written a Letter to the Editor published in the Columbine Courier criticizing Everett as the “no representative” in the legislature.
Hurt told Everett she was offended at being singled out for asking a question.
After the gathering, Everett told several supporters he had videotaped the meeting to make sure his words weren’t misrepresented by opponents.
During a post-meeting discussion with several constituents, Everett said gun-control advocates often soften their stance after visiting a shooting range and seeing the safety precautions taken. He said that is especially true for women.
Despite the extended discussion on gun control, it wasn’t the only focus of the evening. Other points of discussion included the first three bills Everett sponsored, all of which were killed in committees in the Democratically controlled state House:
• The “make my day better” bill, which would have extended the same right to use force in defending a home from an intruder to a place of business.
• Two bills limiting the power of unions, including one that would have taken away the right of public employees to collectively bargain, which Everett said went further than Wisconsin’s controversial law.
Everett said his last two bills of the session will have a better chance of passage. One would allow Colorado to invest in Israeli government bonds, which Everett said currently have a high interest rate. The other would grant in-state tuition to children of servicemen and -women stationed in Colorado.
Everett’s website hacked
Anyone who had bookmarked Everett’s website might want to change the address.
Everett said that several weeks ago his website was the subject of a Java attack that destroyed the site.
“It had to be built back up from scratch,” Everett said.
Everett said he moved his site to a new address, everett4colorado.com. The infected Web address was everettforcolorado.com.
Contact Ramsey Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.