EDITORIAL: Colorado Dems must go with the political flow and enact gun safety bills now

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The tide has turned at the state Capitol, and it’s time to seize the opportunity to make Colorado safer.

Democratic legislators and Colorado’s new governor, who effectively now control state government, would make a grievous mistake by not finally enacting long overdue gun-safety legislation.

The once-honorable National Rifle Association has evolved to become a ruthless political arm of the nation’s $43-billion-a-year gun industry. Its clear focus is to ensure the easy and prolific procurement, use and sale of firearms and ammunition.

Over the past few decades, the NRA and groups such as Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the Independence Institute have deviously woven a gun-rights mythology with fierce patriotism.

It’s not in any way patriotic to turn firearms on fellow citizens upwards of 100,000 times a year.

Colorado residents are the unwitting subjects of a vastly expensive and relentless marketing scheme coupled with an ocean of money spent annually on ensuring compliance from obedient and fearful members of Congress and the Colorado Legislature.

The NRA mythology is pegged on equating the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, guaranteeing free speech, with the Second Amendment, preserving the ability of citizen militias to help defend the nation against foreign invaders. They have worked tirelessly to persuade Congress and Colorado voters that there should be no regulation of firearms in the same way there is virtually no regulation of speech.

The result is a chaotic free-for-all where about 100,000 Americans are killed or maimed each year by firearms. We are killed and wounded by guns at a rate that is 25 times higher than any other developed democratic nation. It is our nation’s biggest embarrassment and preventable tragedy.

For those who insist gun-safety measures won’t reduce gun violence and mass murders, the dozens of free, Democratic nations across the globe that protect the rights of hunters and sportsmen and reasonably regulate firearms are proof that it can be done.

Colorado Democrat Party leaders should set aside talk of the last time Democrats had this kind of control in 2013 and pushed through measures to ensure background checks and magazine size. The two bills were born of the Aurora theater shooting massacre and were only the start of a long list of work needing to be done to rein in rampant gun violence.

Shortly after, Republican extremists surprisingly and successfully recalled two lawmakers over their support of the gun bills. The recall was pulled off in a special election that few voters took notice of. Even if the same extremists pulled the same stunt again, voters and Democrats are wise to the scam.

Some Democrats are fearful of certain backlash from gun-rights and right-wing extremists if they act now on pushing through a red-flag bill and other gun-safety measures that can provably save lives. They should step down now. Every lawmaker was sent by voters to the state Capitol to do a job, not to work to preserve their power.

The political tide, however, has strategically turned across the state. A majority of voters here have made it clear they no longer believe the outrageous lies generated by the NRA and other gun lobbyists. Voters see through the empty rhetoric of the far-right and have overwhelmingly pushed back against the government of President Donald Trump.

History, voters, common sense and righteousness are on the side of Democrats and Republicans who know that realistic gun-safety legislation can and will reduce gun violence and deaths.

Start now in Colorado.