Dividing Colorado


It could be called the rule of surprising consequences.  On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza, accompanied by an assortment of weapons, burst into the Sandy Hook school in Watertown, Connecticut and killed 20 children and staff.  Following the tragedy the Connecticut legislature took steps to lessen the likelihood that such an event would repeat itself.  On April 3, 2013, with bi-partisan support, the Connecticut legislature passed Senate Bill No. 1160, entitled: “An Act Concerning Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety.”  Under the terms of the bill, certain guns can no longer be sold in that state.  Included among them is the Bushmaster XM15, the type of AR-15 rifle that Adam used to kill.  It bans the sale of gun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.  (Adam had 10 magazines loaded with 300 rounds.  It only took 154 rounds plus one from a Glock pistol for him to kill 20 of his victims. When it was all said and done he would have had 146 left over for another day had he not killed himself instead.)

On April 4, 2013, Connecticut’s governor Dan Malloy signed the bill into law.  On April 11, 2013, PTR industries, a gun maker that manufactures, among other things, the now banned Bushmaster XM15, announced that it was leaving the state in protest over the new law.  In June 2013, the company moved its operation to South Carolina where there haven’t been any massacres that would cause that state’s residents to be nervous about guns.

On July 12, 2012, James Eagan Holmes went into a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of The Dark Night Rises.   Like Adam Lanza, James was armed with a variety of weapons that served him well.  He killed 12 people and wounded 70 others. The legislature and the governor responded.  In March 2013 two laws were passed that went into effect July 1, 2013.  The first requires universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers and requires gun buyers to pay for those checks. The second limits the size of gun magazines to no more than 15 rounds. Those laws were signed by Governor John Hickenlooper on March 20, 2013.  (Three other laws dealing with guns were signed by the governor in May 2013.)

The Colorado legislation was opposed by all the Republicans in the legislature.  Prior to passage of the bills, Magpul Industries, a firm that manufactures 30-round magazines and other firearm accessories, announced that if the gun legislation being considered by the state legislature were to pass, it would move its manufacturing facilities to a different state. As of this writing it has not announced a new location for its facilities but has indicated that it still plans to leave the state. HiViz Shooting Systems, a Colorado firearms company, has announced that it is moving to Laramie, Wyoming.

All of the foregoing notwithstanding, the most surprising consequence of the new law in Colorado has nothing to do with losing manufacturers.  It has to do with the state of Colorado losing counties.  Unlike the manufacturing companies, counties cannot pull up stakes and leave Colorado.  They are fixed geographically within that state.  The next best thing they can do, they hope, is secede from the state of Colorado. And that is what the county commissioners of Weld County, a rural county in northern Colorado, have proposed.  The commissioners are motivated not only by their dislike of what the Colorado legislature has done with respect to guns but with other legislation passed by the legislature affecting agriculture and oil and gas development.

The new state that the three elected county commissioners in Weld County, Colorado have proposed to create by secession is to be called North Colorado.  The commissioners have met with representatives from six other Colorado counties and those counties have expressed an interest in participating in the process.  The Weld County commissioners are Republicans.  Republicans are normally concerned about high costs of government.  Although the process of seceding will be expensive and substituting two states for one state will greatly increase the cost of governance, the commissioners are not worried about those expenses if they can have a separate state. And they may also be taking comfort in the thought that one expense no one will have to incur is the expense of redesigning the American flag.  That is because in early 2013, a petition bearing the signature of 125,746 Texans was sent to the White House seeking permission for Texas to secede from the union.  The request was turned down by the administration.  Given recent events in the Texas legislature the administration might want to reconsider.  Should that happen the flag would not have to be changed.  The star that used to represent Texas would now represent North Colorado, a nifty solution since North Colorado would presumably have the same political leanings as the state it replaced.

Christopher Brauchli is a lawyer living in Boulder, Colorado. He can be emailed at brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu.

Christopher Brauchli is an attorney in Boulder, Colorado.

November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration
John Wight
After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large
Joseph G. Ramsey
No Excuses, No Exceptions: the Moral Imperative to Offer Refuge
Patrick Cockburn
ISIS Thrives on the Disunity of Its Enemies
Andrew Moss
The Message of Montgomery: 60 Years Later
Jim Green
James Hansen’s Nuclear Fantasies
Robert Koehler
The Absence of History in the Aftermath of Paris
Dave Lindorff
The US Media and Propaganda
Dave Randle
France and Martial Law
Gilbert Mercier
If We Are at War, Let’s Bring Back the Draft!
Alexey Malashenko
Putin’s Syrian Gambit
Binoy Kampmark
Closing the Door: US Politics and the Refugee Debate
Julian Vigo
A Brief Genealogy of Disappearance and Murder
John R. Hall
Stuck in the Middle With You
Barbara Nimri Aziz
McDonalds at 96th Street
David Rovics
At the Center of Rebellion: the Life and Music of Armand
Weekend Edition
November 20-22, 2015
Jason Hirthler
Paris and the Soldiers of the Caliphate: More War, More Blowback
Sam Husseini
The Left and Right Must Stop the Establishment’s Perpetual War Machine
Mike Whitney
Hillary’s War Whoop
Pepe Escobar
In the Fight Against ISIS, Russia Ain’t Taking No Prisoners
Ajamu Baraka
The Paris Attacks and the White Lives Matter Movement
Andrew Levine
The Clintons are Coming, the Clintons are Coming!
Linda Pentz Gunter
Let’s Call Them What They Are: Climate Liars
Paul Street
Verging on Plutocracy? Getting Real About the Unelected Dictatorship
Nur Arafeh
Strangling the Palestinian Economy
Patrick Howlett-Martin
The Paris Attacks: a Chronicle Foretold
Vijay Prashad
Rebuilding Syria With BRICS and Mortar
Brian Cloughley
Why US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter is the Biggest Threat to World Peace