In Colorado – easily among the most beautiful states in America – the people know about heartbreak and horror. In 1999, at a high school named for a beautiful flower, 12 were killed and another 23 injured before some deranged kids turned their guns on themselves at Columbine. Last summer, at a movie theater in Aurora, 12 more innocents were killed and 58 wounded by a crazed gunman equally deranged.
So it is hardly of any wonder why state Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to sign two or three bills into law today that will demand 15-ammunition limit on magazines, universal background checks on all buyers and a requirement that gun purchasers pay for the background checks and proper licensing.
That’s cool, right? I paid for my background check – I assume – when I obtained a legal carry permit and, not long ago, I renewed my carry permit for another $50 so a new background check could assure the authorities I have behaved. I did this gladly and happily.
But here’s a sheriff in Weld County, Colorado, John Cooke, who says on national TV he won’t enforce the new state gun laws and that he and some other sheriffs are considering legal action against the governor and the state. Why? Because the laws are ridiculous to anyone who has taken a realistic approach to Americans who own firearms and thugs who abuse them. And they are futile.
The only people who obey the rules are the people pressured to abide by them. Any legislature can make all the rules it wants and – easily predictable -- anybody who is going to buy a kilo of cocaine, transport 100 pounds of marijuana or kill a rival gang member will openly mock such laws. Do you think a bank robber is going to make sure he takes a gun safety class before he pulls the stick-up?
All across the nation the rational public knows the same thing Sheriff Cooke does when he promises it is “impossible” to enforce what he calls “knee-jerk” reactions to tragedies. Quite simply, the Colorado stance will be no more successful than the other fledgling programs sprouting up around the country.
Terry Maketa is the Sheriff of El Paso County in Colorado Springs. He’s responsible for the safety of over 600,000 people over 2,000 square miles and he is a hands-on realist. On his website he wrote:
“It is very disturbing to witness so many that have taken the same oath I have, to now flip flop and use tragedies such as the Sandy Hook school shooting to further their personal agenda and very flawed thought process. Bans such as those that have been discussed and proposed in this state and other states will not make our schools any safer. Emotionally labeling “scary looking” weapons as assault weapons and banning them will not make our schools and communities any safer.
“The notion that restricting ammunition or requiring any form of registration is factually illogical and emotionally driven to achieve one agenda and that agenda is control. This is precisely why our forefathers had elected to give every law abiding citizen these absolute rights and why they restricted the power and authority of the government.,” wrote the sheriff.
So what do we do? “The silent issue that society and our elected (officials) refuse to address at the national and local level is how mental illness is affecting our society and the lack of resources available to address these illnesses. We should be sharing information concerning those diagnosed individuals who demonstrate violent or homicidal ideations. We should insure our mental health systems are available to all those afflicted with disorders or illnesses."
There is a shooting nearly every day in our Chattanooga! “A seven or eight year old child should never be consumed with graphic and destructive video games that measure the player’s success by how many people or things they can kill. This is an element that did not exist 30 years ago.
“Thirty years ago children played outside in the fresh air; today they sit with a remote, a mouse or toggle in their hand. They have become desensitized from constant stimulus and don’t comprehend the value of human life or the finality of the loss of it,” read the sheriff’s newsletter.
Best yet, he knows that gun laws – to be real honest – affect only those who obey them. The Colorado sheriff writes, “Instead of the Federal Government, mainly Congress, continuing to engage in activities of which they have no authority and erodes our constitutional rights, we should focus on criminals and those who are most likely to commit acts of violence and not target the law abiding patriots of our nation.”