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John CookeJohn CookeMay 30, 20185min983

In the closing days of the 2018 session of the General Assembly, the so-called “red flag” bill was rushed through the state House of Representatives in only five days from introduction to passage. House Democrats and the progressive media were united and vocal in their support, but in the end, only two of 47 Republicans in the legislature thought HB1436 worthy of support.


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Hal BidlackHal BidlackMay 22, 20186min651

I hate the fact that I am less horrified than I was in April of 1999. On the 19thof that month, I spent the evening watching a Rockies game with fellow members of my academic department at the Air Force Academy. It was our yearly outing, and I was the guy in charge of setting things up. As I recall, there were a couple of big home runs, and the Rockies beat the Expos 11 to 10 in an excitingly close game. As I drove south on I-25 to Colorado Springs, I passed only a few miles from Columbine High School, where the next day the nation would be stunned, saddened, and horrified by a school shooting that would leave 13 dead, plus the shooters.


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Colorado PoliticsColorado PoliticsMay 10, 20189min501

The recent opinion piece from Colorado teacher Jill Cullis shed some light on the problems facing Colorado’s schools. Recent increases in funding, with the bulk of those dollars not going to teachers' salaries, is the real problem. During Teacher Appreciation Week, we should highlight the fact that outstanding teachers are making the same salaries as mediocre or even underperforming teachers. In fact, based on outdated salary schedules used in most school districts, many underperforming teachers will make more than their “highly effective” counterparts.  This is an incredible disservice to Colorado educators and students.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 21, 20183min544

It probably should come as no surprise that politically conservative, business-friendly, sparsely populated Idaho ranks No. 1 on a new list of “states most dependent on the gun industry.” Or that Maryland — liberal, heavily taxed and regulated, and with a large and diverse economy and a population nearly four times Idaho’s wedged into one-seventh as much area — would rank last.

… Or, that Colorado — that next-gen rendering of Middle Americana — would rank in the middle, at 24th.

Surprise or otherwise, it’s interesting to pore over the data in the state-by-state analysis on the subject by WalletHub, the personal-finance website. The list made the rounds this week in time for the renewed debate over gun control in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre.

The depth of the numbers crunched by WalletHub to rank the states is impressive and yields assorted, telling data points. Such as:

  • Alaska has the highest gun ownership rate, 61.7 percent.
  • Idaho has the most firearms-industry jobs per 10,000 residents, 40.05.
  • Connecticut has the highest average firearms-industry wages and benefits, $75,708.
  • New Hampshire has the highest total firearms-industry output per capita, $732.54, 26.7 times higher than in Hawaii, which has the lowest at $27.40.
  • Wyoming has the highest total taxes paid by the firearms industry per capita, $9.34, 14.8 times higher than in New York, which has lowest at $0.63.

WalletHub’s wonks looked at those and other statistics for all the states to arrive at its overall rankings of where gun and ammo makers and vendors have the heaviest impact on a state, its government and its economy as well as where that impact is the slightest. WalletHub noted in a press release that its findings could be of all the more relevance given slumping gun sales of late across the country. If sustained, the trend could have repercussions for tax revenue and employment, among other considerations.

The data also brings to mind the much-debated departure from Colorado of Magpul, one of the country’s largest producers of ammunition magazines and other accessories, in 2015.

Yet, Colorado, which turns up somewhere in the middle on so many surveys, didn’t even rank in the top or bottom five of any of the sub-categories on the WalletHub gun-dependency scale. Presumably, the ripple effect of Magpul’s exodus was also middling.

For more on the survey’s methodology and findings as well as a color-coded map of the states, here’s the link again.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyMarch 19, 20183min673

It’s been about a month since Denver police offered to take bump stocks off any owner’s hands as the city’s ban on the device officially became active.

Yet, no such device has been surrendered, Denverite reports.

In late January, Denver became among the first cities in the country to institute a ban on bump stocks — the device reportedly used by the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre to increase his weapons’ rate of fire.

As the ban went into effect, the Denver Police Department said in February to avoid being in violation of the newly-enacted ordinance, any residents with bump stocks can now turn them over to the authorities.

Bump stocks replace an assault rifle’s standard stock and free the weapon to slide back and forth rapidly, channeling the energy from the weapon’s recoil. That allows for more rapid fire, nearly that of a fully automatic weapon. The device is most notable for its use in the Las Vegas massacre — the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

The bump stock measure, crafted by candidate for state Senate Alan Kennedy-Shaffer and introduced by Councilman Rafael Espinoza, amended the city’s existing ordinance banning assault weapons to make it illegal to sell, carry, store or otherwise possess a bump stock.

The measure also now makes it unlawful to have a magazine capable of holding more than 15 rounds. The old standard was 21 rounds in Denver; the change will bring the city into compliance with existing state law.

Denver joined Columbia, S.C., believed to be the first city to institute a ban according to NPR, in being the among the first cities to pass legislation related to bump stocks.


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Hal BidlackHal BidlackMarch 16, 20187min661

Since the most recent school shooting (what a horrible phrase), there have been quite a few folks arguing about what level – if any – of gun regulation is needed to help mitigate our nation’s gun violence problem. Those in favor of stricter gun laws argue for a new assault rifle ban and other measures, while those on the opposite side often argue it is a mental health issue, and we need to look at violent video games (as the President did last week), parenting, and bullying.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirMarch 14, 20183min902

Denver Public Schools may have decided to trade weapons for plowshares — it announced last week it would turn down National Rifle Association grants for assorted school programs in the wake of the Parkland, Florida school massacre — but the Second Amendment-friendly, Denver-based Independence Institute is sticking to its guns.

As the Associated Press reported over the weekend:

The libertarian-leaning Independence Institute is one of the top recipients of charitable NRA grants, according to an Associated Press analysis of the NRA Foundation’s public tax records. The think tank received $241,000 from the foundation in 2016, the last year for which data is available. The institute reported receiving a total of $2 million in grants and donations that year.

The size of the Independence Institute’s grant is large enough to make Colorado the state with the fourth largest amount of NRA charitable donations, with $293,000 in grants. That places it only behind two much larger states — California and Texas — and North Carolina, home to Speedway Children’s Charities, which has received the largest NRA donation at $425,000.

The NRA wouldn’t comment for the AP, but the wire service’s findings hardly come as a shocker. As the AP’s Nicholas Riccardi notes in the report:

The Independence Institute has a long history in Colorado politics and is a prominent advocate of gun rights positions. Its research director, Dave Kopel, has written numerous law review articles defending gun rights and filed friend of court briefs supporting firearms owners and groups.

The think tank’s public affairs chief, Mike Krause, seemed downright proud, telling the AP: “It would make sense that America’s oldest civil rights organization, the NRA, would support our work … Indeed, we would like to think we are the most vocal and principled defender of the Second Amendment, and of the human right of self-defense, in Colorado. ”