The battle taking place over gun control at the federal and state levels has found its way to the Jeffco commissioners.
Commissioner Don Rosier has introduced a resolution that would call for the county to take a stand against possible new gun-control regulations being debated after the recent mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora.
“I feel it’s very important with the number of individuals that have sent me e-mails and who called me and talked to me about the Second Amendment,” Rosier said. “It’s a statement that is in support of the Second Amendment for our citizens to know, and our other elected officials, the stand we take.”
Rosier’s resolution states that the county doesn’t want the state or federal government to consider any new regulation that would infringe on the right to bears arms guaranteed in the Second Amendment, “including additional restrictions on lawful firearms and accessories; or on the possession, use, sale or transfer of legitimately owned firearms.”
Rosier points to counties like El Paso and Douglas, along with the County Sheriffs of Colorado, that have made strong statements against new firearms regulations, including a requirement for universal background checks on gun sales and bans on high-capacity ammunition magazines.
“We have enough laws on the books; we need to start enforcing those,” Rosier said.
The resolution, which Rosier introduced at the Jan. 29 commissioners meeting, was immediately met with skepticism by Commissioner Casey Tighe. Tighe said that while he is a strong supporter the Second Amendment, he felt the resolution would silence any debate about gun regulations before the discussion had even begun.
“I think these conversations are healthy,” Tighe said. “(The resolution) is asking us to not even consider new legislation.”
‘It’s denying there’s a problem’
A well-known local advocate of firearms restrictions also was not pleased with Rosier’s resolution.
“I’m upset that Commissioner (Rosier) doesn’t want to have that conversation (about gun control),” said Tom Mauser, spokesman for Colorado Ceasefire. “It’s denying there’s a problem and trying to shut down conversation before we even have it.”
Mauser’s son Daniel was among the 12 students and a teacher killed in the Columbine High School shootings in 1999. Mauser recently wrote a book, “Walking in Daniel’s Shoes,” about his experiences since Columbine.
Mauser said he planned to be present at the 8 a.m. commissioners meeting on Tuesday to argue against the resolution.
“I think we’ve reached the breaking point,” Mauser said. “After so many tragedies, clearly the American people are saying we can’t continue as business as usual. I think Americans are fed up with it. ‘Do nothing’ is not an acceptable response.”
Tighe also took issue with the wording of the resolution. He pointed to a section stating that “many gun-control laws implicitly assume the guilt of lawful and responsible firearm owners with little effect on the ability of criminals to obtain firearms and use them unlawfully.”
Tighe called that reasoning flawed and said it would distract from meaningful conversation about gun control.
Rosier countered by saying there are already enough laws on the books and that enforcement of existing laws is the issue.
“We already have laws,” Rosier said. “Whether you murder one or 30, you commit a heinous crime.”
Rosier said conversations about gun control are focusing too much on the firearms and not the people committing the crimes.
“It’s the individual,” Rosier said. “Whether it’s with a homemade pipe bomb, an illegal firearm, in a vehicle — it’s that person who should be held accountable. When it comes to any type of gun debate, lawmakers are very quick to say it’s the gun first.”
Rosier’s resolution also takes a stand against international treaties “that will infringe on the Second Amendment right of American citizens,” like the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, or CIFTA.
Rosier said CIFTA also focuses on the weapons and not the people using them.
“When (a gun) is used in an illegal manner, it often gets the name of an illegal gun. When we look at the global sense of things, we’re looking at the acts of individuals, not guns,” Rosier said.
Commissioner Faye Griffin remained silent for much of the debate between Tighe and Rosier. After their discussion, Griffin said she is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment but wanted the commissioners to continue to discuss the issue.
Contact Ramsey Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 22.