Written by Dominic Dezzutti

State Senate President John Morse released his much-sensationalized gun control bill this week that would hold gun sellers and manufacturers liable for any violence perpetuated with what he defines as an assault weapon. While many legal experts figure the bill would be super ceded by federal law, Sen. Morse is confident that he has worked a way around it.

Morse included in his bill the stipulation that sellers and manufacturers must take the “highest degree of care” when selling guns to customers so that they take every possible action to make sure they are not selling guns to people who use them for acts of violence.

I’ll let the gun experts on both sides of this issue tackle the particulars of the bill and its various benefits and problems.

My take on this issue is asking if Sen. Morse is taking the highest degree of care with his party’s majority in the State Senate.

If this is the kind of bill he wants to see get all the way to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk, it seems to me that he could care less if his party stays in the majority after 2014.

When Democrats won the State House and State Senate back in 2004, the lesson they learned from Republicans was that when you owned majorities in all branches of government, do not abuse that right.

The more savvy you are with a super majority, the longer you are likely to keep it. The further you go towards the extreme wings of your party, the faster your majorities will be taken away from you.

Republicans wrote the book on how to lose a super majority in the early 2000’s. It seems Sen. Morse has not been keeping up with his reading.

His own caucus may save Sen. Morse from himself by not letting the bill get out of the Senate, let alone to the House. Two Senate Democrats with strong Second Amendment records are not likely to support the bill. If one more Dem breaks ranks, the bill will die if it makes the full Senate for a vote.

It may be too early to think about 2014’s election, wait, what am I saying, it’s never too early to think about an election. But my point is that thanks to redistricting, the same Senate Democrats who enjoy a five vote advantage right now will be facing a much tougher road to a majority in 2014.

Maybe Sen. John Morse is simply living it up while he can instead of worrying about 2014. That theory actually makes more sense than the one that says bills like this are somehow part of an overall re-election strategy in a western state like Colorado.

Yes, Coloradans may be in the mood for some gun control, but moderate, unaffiliated Coloradans are not clamoring for a bill to go this far.

So is this taking advantage of a majority while you can or is this assuming that Colorado’s independent voter base really wants gun control bills like this?

Whichever it is, it certainly doesn’t sound like anyone is taking the “highest degree of care” with this majority.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.


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