Garfield County commissioners support sheriff’s gun law resolution
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Backed by gun rights supporters including the county sheriff, a Rifle gun shop owner and the area’s state representative and state senator, Garfield County commissioners on Monday unanimously adopted a resolution opposing Colorado’s new gun laws.
“I would surmise that the three of us up here are gun owners,” Commissioner Mike Samson said to nods of agreement from fellow commissioners John Martin and Tom Jankovksy.
“We own pistols, shotguns and rifles, and we are proud that we do, and I’m proud that we live in a nation where we have that right,” Samson continued in his motion to approve the resolution offered up by Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario.
The resolution puts the county commissioners on record opposing House Bill 1224, which banned the possession and sale of ammunition magazines made after July 1 that can hold more than 15 rounds, and H.B. 1229, which imposed new background check requirements for gun purchasers in the state.
The resolution adopted by the commissioners Monday also serves to support a lawsuit brought by Vallario and 54 other elected county sheriffs, calling the laws “vague, overreaching, unenforceable” and a violation of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, including the sheriffs, the Colorado Farm Bureau, citizens with disabilities, gun rights groups, gun manufacturers and retired law enforcement officers, seek a temporary or permanent injunction against the new laws.
“I agree, these laws go too far, and we do need to push back,” Samson said. “And I think it’s important that we let the people know where we stand.”
A clarification of the law’s provisions sent out by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers in May to serve as a guide for law enforcement agencies in enforcing the laws was helpful, Vallario said at the Monday meeting.
“But the language is still in the law, and a lot of it is still confusing and vague,” Vallario said.
Further, the basic premise behind the laws is wrong, he added.
“Our government seems to have shifted mods from focusing on the bad guy, the criminal, to weeding through everyone until we find the bad guy. That’s wrong,” Vallario said.
State Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, and state Sen. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, were also on hand to speak in favor of the resolution.
“There was a lot of debate on this,” said Baumgardner, who was on the losing end of the Senate vote on both measures. He plans to introduce a bill in the next session to repeal the laws, “because I do believe they are an infringement on our constitutional rights.”
Added Rankin, who also voted against the measures in the Colorado House, “We’re fighting an issue here that is part of a national agenda to implement gun control laws without any proof that they’ll do any good.”
John Bernard, who has a gun smithing business in Rifle, and retired plastic surgeon, Dr. Jose Rodriguez, also weighed in.
“The people who are passing this stuff are constantly pushing, pushing,” Bernard said. “We have to counter by pushing back and pushing back hard.”
Rodriguez spoke following the commissioners’ adoption of the resolution about being born in the Dominican Republic during the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the middle 20th century.
“In the Dominican Republic, all of the weapons were held by the military,” he said. “I would hate to think that kind of dictatorship could come here. But the first step is the regulation of guns.”
No one spoke at the meeting against the resolution.
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