FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Dividing Colorado

by CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI

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.

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail