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Gun rights or wrongs?(CO) ^ | 15 February, 2012 | BRANDON JOHANSSON

Posted on 02/16/2012 7:23:41 AM PST by marktwain

AURORA | No matter the season, the year, or the weather, customer interest in the rack of guns at Pasternack’s Pawn Shop in Aurora rarely changes.

Typically, the shop on East Colfax Avenue near Dayton Street sells 25 guns each month, said Scott Pasternack, the owner. And while the last six months have seen a spike, Pasternack said reasons for it are a mystery.

“I think it’s just the uncertainty of times we’re in, predictions like the Mayan calendar, world ending, all kinds of different things,” Pasternack said with a laugh.

But six miles west at the State Capitol, the gun issue is heating up, and leaders on both sides say it has a lot do with the calendar, particularly next fall’s election.

Luke O’Dell, director of political affairs for the pro-gun group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, said he expects guns to be more of an issue this fall than they were in 2008 or 2004.

“I think in some of these Republican primaries that are coming up we will start to see a lot of discussion about support for the Second Amendment,” he said.

At the state level, RMGO is backing five gun bills this session and four of them are still working their way through the Legislature. Last year, the group backed three measures, and each one died.

The group sees the measures as a winner for them politically, O’Dell said. And the votes are important, he said, because they can be used as a hammer in this fall’s elections on lawmakers who don’t back them.

“The voting records of the individuals that vote against these bills will certainly be brought up during their elections by the voters,” he said.

Others see this year’s gun measures as a cynical political ploy, aimed at distracting voters.

“Coloradans want to see legislators focus on growing the economy and creating jobs but unfortunately, Speaker Frank McNulty is following the lead of Republicans in Washington who allow other issues to distract from the priorities of mainstream, middle-class Americans,” Rick Palacio, chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, said in an email this week.

The gun measures being considered this year — each sponsored by Republicans — include one aimed at barring the government from confiscating guns during times of emergency and one that would end background checks on some gun transfers.

The measures also include parallel bills in the House and Senate that would allow citizens to carry a concealed firearm without first obtaining a permit from their county sheriff. The legislation is still alive in the Republican-controlled house, but the Senate version died in committee.

Law enforcement around the state are split on the measure.

Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, who chairs the legislative committee for the County Sheriffs of Colorado, said the group opted not to take a position on the measure because they couldn’t get a super-majority of sheriffs to support or oppose it.

For his part, Robinson said he opposes the measure because the current system, which is aimed at barring criminals, drug addicts and others from getting a permit, has been successful.

“I think the current system that we have works really well,” Robinson said.

In Arapahoe County last year, Robinson’s office denied 18 of the 1,505 concealed weapon applications they received. In 14 of those cases, the sheriff denied the requests because the applicant had an arrest record. In the other four, there were questions about the applicant’s residency.

One of the more controversial gun measures up for debate this years would extend the state’s “Make My Day Law” to businesses.

The state already has a law that allows people in homes to gun down invaders, and the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Chris Holbert, is asking lawmakers to weigh: “Are you worth somehow less in the workplace than you are in your residence?”

Opponents, including some in law enforcement, consider the plan an overreach.

“This bill gives business owners a license to kill when nothing is threatened other than property,” Rep. Claire Levy said.

The legislation passed the House on third reading Monday.

Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, co-sponsors the legislation. He said law like the Make My Day measure and others are not distractions, but important legislation for many of his constituents.

“House Republicans have already passed a number of measures that decrease regulations and clear the way for job creation in Colorado. We are committed to accelerating our economic recovery, but we must also represent the diverse needs and concerns of our districts,” he said.

Still, some see the heated gun debate as more of a distraction.

Back at his shop, Pasternack said he’s not surprised to see the debate heating up with an election looming in the fall.

“It’s just jockeying, Republicans vs. Democrats,” he said. “Since nobody can do anything with the economy, what’s the next best topic? Guns.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Reach reporter Brandon Johansson at 720-449-9040 or

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government; News/Current Events; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: banglist; co; constitution; legislature
From the comments at the site, by Orion:

WOW can this news outlet possibly find a more biased reporter, I really really doubt it. In my world this kind of wording and reporting would be called extremely unprofessional, maybe Brandon should go back to college and take a journalism ethics course! The U.S. Supreme Court recently upheld the right to keep and bear arms for every legal lawabiding U.S. citizen, the only exception would be if a citizen has a felony conviction. The recent armed robbery at the cigarette shop on east Colfax is proof of just how badly business owners need the same protections afforded to people in their own homes. There were two armed robbers who walked in with pistols drawn and held them to the heads of a grandmother who had a child with her and another customer, the store owner and another employee engaged them with firearms of their own and mortally wounded one while the other fled. They themselves were wounded but still prevailed, this was the second armed robbery of that store in two years. They saved themselves and the customers who were in immediate danger of being murdered in cold blood just for a little money, how can this possibly be considered less important than someone protecting themselves in their own home? (Every lawabiding citizen) should be able to carry concealed without restriction!

1 posted on 02/16/2012 7:23:55 AM PST by marktwain
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To: marktwain
predictions like the Mayan calendar, world ending

What good will a pistol do you when the sun explodes?

2 posted on 02/16/2012 7:31:52 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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To: marktwain
The more brazenly Obama tramples the Constitution, the more concerned citizens become regarding their liberties.
3 posted on 02/16/2012 7:41:10 AM PST by G Larry (We are NOT obliged to carry the snake in our pocket and then dismiss the bites as natural behavior.)
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To: BenLurkin
What good will a pistol do you when the sun explodes?

You will die a free man.

4 posted on 02/16/2012 7:44:32 AM PST by NY.SS-Bar9
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To: marktwain
“This bill gives business owners a license to kill when nothing is threatened other than property,”

It's not the PROPERTY you fool, I don't care about the building or the cash, it's my LIFE, my FAMILY, my STAFF and my LIVELYHOOD I'm defending, plus the fact that NOBODY SHOULD BE ROBBING ME.
If you're so concerned about the life of thugs, tell THEM it's not worth killing or get killed over PROPERTY.

5 posted on 02/16/2012 7:45:27 AM PST by BitWielder1 (Corporate Profits are better than Government Waste)
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To: NY.SS-Bar9

I’m not a carrier, but your comment was stellar.

6 posted on 02/16/2012 8:39:02 AM PST by AnTiw1 (I lived through a mormon hell, I will not live in a country with a mormon president.)
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To: NY.SS-Bar9
Woo Hoo!

7 posted on 02/16/2012 11:57:54 AM PST by BenLurkin (This is not a statement of fact. It is either opinion or satire; or both)
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