Friday night means public affairs tv with the Independence Institute, so set your TiVO to wonk. First at 8:00, catch research director David Kopel on Colorado Inside Out. Then stay tuned for Devil’s Advocate at 8:30 as guest host Ben DeGrow is joined by Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at American Enterprise Institute and Douglas County School District Superintendent Elizabeth Celania-Fagen to discuss the importance of strong leadership in bringing about effective education reform. The excitement starts tonight at 8:00 on Colorado Public Television 12. You can find your local CPT12 channel by zip code here.
The Denver Post covers the lawsuit against Colorado’s new gun owner-control laws by Colorado sheriffs:
Thirty-seven of the state’s 62 elected sheriffs are prepared to sue to overturn laws that now prohibit the sale of ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds and require background checks for all private gun sales, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke said Tuesday.
The Post piece also mentions the Independence Institute’s role:
The lawsuit would be handled by lawyer Dave Kopel, research director of the Independence Institute, a conservative think-tank, and adjunct Professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law…
Damn straight, the Independence Institute is both honored, and ready, to stand with the sheriffs to defend the civil liberties of Coloradans’ against the Bloomberg/White House orchestrated assault on the Second Amendment.
You can donate to the lawsuit here.
Colorado has the initiative process; that is, we lowly citizens can act as the legislature and change law. Elected officials of all stripes hate the initiative, and you can understand why. The initiative is the check and balance on their power. Would politicians ever vote to limit their own terms? Of course not. Fortunately, through the initiative, we the people did. Would they ever vote to limit how much they spend, or ask voters for a tax or debt increase? We the people did through the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Would politicians ever vote to make all their meetings open to the public? Well, we the people did…you get the idea.
So in 2009, the legislature passed a bill, HB-1326, that made it so onerous, expensive, and potentially personally bankrupting that no thinking person would ever put something on the ballot again. (And as you’ll see, I am no thinking person.) So we decided to fight to keep our right to petition. It has been a long and expensive fight, but with a judge’s order on Friday, we have now completely won!
Let me give you an idea just how bad this law was. It made the proponents of an initiative personally liable for the actions of petition gatherers. I’ve been a political activist for over two decades and, like most Americans, never thought that being part of the democratic process would land me in court and possibly bankrupt me. Well, that’s just what happened.
I was the sponsor of our Health Care Choice initiative in 2010, along with our health care star Linda Gorman. When the opponents wanted to derail the effort, they used the new law and claimed that a paid petition gatherer misrepresented my initiative to get a citizen to sign my petition. So into court I was dragged. If the opponents won I would be liable for their legal costs. We of course won, but still, my legal costs were about $100,000. This nuisance complaint did what it was created to do – cost time and money. If, however, we’d lost, I’d have had to pay hundreds of thousands to the opponents. I would have been wiped out and in bankruptcy.
After what happened to me, it became clear that no one would ever chance their own fiscal ruin by putting an initiative forward again. With our input, the Secretary of State has made rule changes to provide at least some protection to future sponsors.
If that wasn’t enough, HB-1326 outlawed paying petition gatherers by the signature. Instead, they were to be paid by the hour or on salary, which would make the process so expensive that only very rich people and political interests could get things on the ballot. We were able to get a judge to temporarily enjoin that just in time for us to get the signatures needed for the Health Care Choice initiative in 2010.
On Friday, the judge made that temporary injunction permanent! This is a major victory for the right to petition.
And if THAT wasn’t enough, HB-1326 required that petition gatherers be residents of Colorado, even though the most effective, professional gatherers travel around the country and may be out-of-state. Again, the law was made to make it unaffordable to get something on the ballot. On Friday, the judge permanently enjoined that part of the law, too. We’ve won on everything.
The lawyer we used was none other than David Lane, who skillfully navigated this suit. Thanks David.
To make a long story short, the Independence Institute is willing to take on the nitty-gritty battles, like this one, to protect our freedoms. And this is yet another victory in our path towards true liberty.
Advancing liberty ain’t always pretty, ain’t never cheap, and is always longer and harder than imagined. But if you and I don’t do it, who will?
Yesterday, a judge ruled in favor of us in a lawsuit we filed against a 2009 law limiting paid petition gathering. The law was a blow against citizens who wanted to use paid petition gathering to get an initiative on the ballot. And as our lawyer David Lane put it, “I think the intent of the bill was to disincentivize signature gathers.” I commented that this ruling against the law means that you don’t need deep, union-sized pockets to get on the ballot.
Just wanted to give you guys a heads up on this victory. I’ll be writing more on this very shortly. Stayed tuned!
Independence Institute friend and long-time contributor Ari Armstrong shot this video of Constitution scholar Rob Natelson speaking in Grand Junction on gun rights, the Second Amendment, and Colorado’s new gun controls. We can’t thank Ari enough for shooting, editing, and posting the video.
And here is the whole 34 minute speech.
First off, we want to thank everyone for all the support we’ve received over the last week. Many of you have been calling and emailing us in support of our legal challenge to the new gun controls Governor Hickenlooper signed into law last week. We can’t thank you enough for the words of encouragement and the donations to help with our legal fight.
In order to make things even easier, we’ve created a new way to donate to us online. Go to https://secure.i2i.org/2al.php if you’d like to contribute to our legal fund directly. If you know anyone who wants to donate, you can send them that link as well.
Again, thanks for all your support. We are not able to fight to protect gun rights in Colorado without your help.
The great economics professor Walter Williams joined me on my show last week. In case you missed it, here is the video.
As many of you have heard, we are mounting a legal challenge to the new gun controls signed into law yesterday. Our lawsuit will be based on the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, among other grounds. The lawsuit will be brought on behalf of a large coalition of local and national law enforcement, including many of the Sheriffs who opposed the bills, disability rights organizations, gun safety organizations, civil rights organizations, and others. As always, spearheading this effort is our Second Amendment Scholar Dave Kopel.
Many have called, emailed, and written us wondering how they can help with our legal campaign. This help is sorely needed. As you might imagine, we have a long and expensive legal battle ahead of us. Your contribution will help with these expenses.
The easiest way to make a contribution directly to this effort is by clicking on this link to donate: https://secure.i2i.org/2al.php
However, if you prefer to send a check, you may mail it to:
727 E. 16th Avenue
Denver, CO 80203
In the memo line, simply put SAP lawsuit, so we apply your gift to the our efforts to fight these over-reaching gun laws.
Again, thank you for your support!
“Over? Did you say it’s ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! And it ain’t over now!” – John Blutarsky
Yesterday Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper confirmed Colorado as a pawn in a national game of gun control. He signed three anti-Second Amendment bills into law, making our previously liberty-loving state into the nation’s Hate State against gun owners.
Independence Institute was the lead voice educating policy makers and the Governor himself of the dangers and sloppiness of these bills. They wouldn’t listen to us. They wouldn’t listen to Coloradans. They instead listened to Mayor Bloomberg and Joe Biden, who called legislators and Hickenlooper personally.
We urged the Governor to veto the bills and send them back to the legislature for re-drafting. Our Second Amendment expert, Dave Kopel, told him that the magazine ban is horribly miswritten, with numerous constitutional problems, even beyond the core Second Amendment issue.
But the national anti-gun interests have more influence in Colorado than we citizens. Now the sale or transfer of nearly every gun magazine in Colorado will be crime, because almost every single magazine is “readily convertible” to hold more than 15 rounds. Watch our video on this here.
And due to the must “maintain continuous possession” clause to grandfather in previously owned mags, I won’t be able to teach my daughter how to shoot my gun – she cannot hold the gun that uses the original magazine. My brother, a volunteer gun range officer will not be able to assist a gun student with a malfunctioning gun. As he says in this op-ed, he will have to choose between keeping the gun range safe or becoming a criminal. A husband cannot lend his gun with an original magazine to his wife. Watch our video on this here.
All 62 County Sheriffs vigorously opposed these bills. Many say that won’t enforce them when they become law because they cannot be enforced.
We have said for years that Colorado is the national test case to turn a freedom-loving western state into a progressive strong hold. Today Colorado citizens learned the hard way that elections have consequences. Today our Governor cemented our path to become California.
But I guarantee you, this fight has just begun. We at Independence love Colorado and love liberty too much to just sit back and watch in dismay.
Today I am proud to announce that the Independence Institute will lead the civil rights lawsuit against the State of Colorado to free us from these unconstitutional laws.
Our lawsuit will be based on the Second and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, among other grounds. The lawsuit will be brought on behalf of a large coalition of local and national law enforcement, including many of the Sheriffs who opposed the bills, disability rights organizations, gun safety organizations, civil rights organizations, and others.
Lead attorney in the lawsuit will be Dave Kopel, who is also a Denver University Adjunct Professor of Constitutional Law. Kopel served on the U.S. Supreme Court oral argument team which won the 2008 case District of Columbia v. Heller. His briefs and scholarship have been cited by Justices Alito, Breyer, and Stevens, and by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, among others.
This will be a long and expensive legal battle. But that is nothing new to us. We are honored to fight for Freedom, to fight for Colorado. We are honored to fight for you.