The 2013 State Legislature passed historic gun control legislation that set a multitude of political events in motion.
We’ve seen State Senators recalled, a popular Governor pushed to the brink in a re-election campaign, and now we are seeing two organizations with major influence in Colorado’s GOP creating a gut check moment for Colorado Republicans.
Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, led by Dudley Brown, has become a bigger player in Colorado politics over the last two years.
RMGO pushes a very purist point of view when it comes to gun laws, and many other conservative issues, refusing to compromise and doing what it can to punish any equivocators within the GOP.
On the other side is the Independence Institute, led by Jon Caldara. The Independence Institute has long fought against gun control laws in Colorado and also has one of the nation’s top Second Amendment experts within its group in David Kopel.
The showdown between these two groups surrounds the potential amending of the current 15 round magazine limit. A bill is being considered, with some Democratic support, to expand the current magazine limit to 30 rounds.
Jon Caldara sees this as important progress on an issue. It’s not the last step in the battle, but getting the magazine limit doubled is certainly a positive step.
RMGO couldn’t disagree more. In fact, for the RMGO, it’s either a full repeal of the magazine limit or nothing. So, the RMGO is against the expansion of the limits because it’s not a full repeal.
This battle highlights the question, when is refusing to accept a compromise sticking to your principles and when is it simply cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face?
RMGO has made no secret of its purist principles, but could refusing to support the doubling of the magazine limit to 30 rounds, which is the industry standard for many assault style guns, actually be harmful for its cause?
While the RMGO and nearly all gun rights advocates want to see the current magazine ban repealed, that is not likely to happen with a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion.
Is this moment one of the very few available to make progress on this issue since the GOP has only occupied the Governor’s seat eight of the last 41 years?
This showdown becomes a true gut check for gun rights advocates in Colorado and will impact the entire GOP because gun rights advocates make up a major sect of the party and can drive decisions on other issues.
If gun rights advocates see the expansion of magazine limits as progress, as the Independence Institute does, this could be sold as a turning of the tide that was the 2013 session.
If gun rights advocates sees this as the RMGO does, as an acceptance of limits in general and therefore something to be refused, then this sets up how other goals of the party must be dealt with as well.
This is an extremely important moment within the Colorado GOP and may indeed drive the agenda on many other issues as it moves toward the 2016 election.
The only question that remains is how gun rights advocates perceive the best way to succeed.
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. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning “Colorado Inside Out” on Colorado Public Television.