Gun Laws and Colorado plus Rampart Range

COLORADO: Pro-Gun Bills Await Action in Denver
Two crucial pieces of legislation are currently waiting to be heard in the Colorado State Legislature.  Emergency Powers legislation (SB 51)is currently awaiting action in the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee.  This bill would remove the Governor’s ability to “suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation” of firearms during a declared state of emergency.  Currently scheduled for a hearing is HB 1094, which guarantee your right to self-defense in the workplace.   It is important that you contact the members of the Senate State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee and urge them to protect the rights of lawful gun owners during states of emergency by setting a hearing date for Senate Bill 51.  Also, please contact the members of the House Judiciary Committee and respectfully urge them to support HB 1094. Contact information for both committees can be found here.

Governor Bill Ritter Pushing Unconstitutional Gun Tax!
On Thursday, January 21, Governor Bill Ritter’s (D) unconstitutional gun tax proposal hit a roadblock when members of the Joint Budget Committee openly stated that they would not support it. Representative Kent Lambert (R-14) and Senator Al White (R-8) objected to imposing the proposed fee on the constitutional rights of Coloradans, likening it to a poll tax.

The proposal would charge gun buyers a $10.50 fee to pay for state-mandated background checks. The Colorado Joint Budget Committee (JBC) typically submits a budget bill with consensus among its members, but it’s unlikely the “gun tax” will win such favor in the JBC.  This would strike a major blow to the onerous proposal.  The state background checks, conducted by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, were mandated in 1998.  At the time, lawmakers assured gun owners that the state would fund these checks because the National Instant Background Check System is free. At this time, the proposal for the state budget bill is still under consideration and has yet to be introduced in the Colorado State Legislature.

Governor Ritter’s proposal is a blatant attack on our Second Amendment rights and NRA-ILA will continue to monitor state budget debates to ensure this proposal doesn’t advance.  Please be sure to check your e-mail and www.nraila.org for future updates.

Colorado State University Seeking to Outlaw Concealed Carry on Campus
On Wednesday, January 20, Colorado State University (CSU) formally announced a draft proposal to prohibit firearms on all CSU campuses. Exempt from the ban would be firearms used by law enforcement and military personnel and by the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. This draft policy will be brought up for consideration at the CSU Board of Governors meeting on Tuesday, February 23. A copy of the draft can be found at www.safety.colostate.edu/files/weapons_policy_draft_01_15_10.pdf. It is important that Colorado’s NRA members tell CSU’s President that the policy must uphold Colorado law and allow permit holders to carry concealed handguns for self-defense.  Please contact President Tony Frank TODAY by phone at 970-491-6211 or e-mail presofc@colostate.edu and respectfully urge him to comply with Colorado law.

Support Needed to Re-Open Rampart Shooting Range!
Following an accidental shooting last July, the Forest Service closed the very popular and heavily used Rampart Shooting Range on the Pike National Forest.  In its nearly 20 year history, Rampart had never before experienced a shooting-related injury or fatality.   Rampart is the only free public range in El Paso County and receives 40,000 visitors a year.  The Service called the closure a “time-out” in order to assess whether the design of the range was a factor.  An investigation determined that the range was not a factor in the accident.  Safety experts have said that the accident could have happened at any range.  But after it closed Rampart, the Forest Service devised a scheme to keep the range closed permanently.

The Forest Service has listed requirements that must be met before it will reopen Rampart.  There is no timetable for meeting these requirements and likely no money to cover costs.  The most significant issue is the requirement of full time supervision.  Most ranges on federal lands operate without supervision and this requirement could place all such ranges in jeopardy.  Rampart Range is in need of improvements which were identified more than two years ago.  Such improvements can be addressed and implemented with the range reopened.  The Forest Service has said that it could take up to five years before Rampart is reopened, but there is no guarantee that it would reopen Rampart in that timeframe or at any time in the future.

NRA has been working to get Rampart Range reopened since the day it was closed, but we need the help of Colorado hunters and shooters to show the Forest Service and your elected officials that the federal government cannot continue to close public lands to recreational shooting, and certainly not without replacing those areas lost with other areas of the same or great value.  Rampart Shooting Range is an important resource for the shooting community along the Front Range.  There is no incentive for the Forest Service to reopen Rampart unless the shooting sports community demands it!

Shooting ranges on public lands are few and far between in Colorado.  In addition to the closure of Rampart, the Forest Service has closed its lands to recreational shooting near Boulder and on the Pawnee Grasslands, and large acreage closures have occurred west of Sedalia.  The Forest Service is not planning for recreational shooting.  Closures are imposed without opening new areas and needed improvements to existing areas, including the Rampart Shooting Range, have not been made.  Recreational shooting is not being treated by the Forest Service in Colorado as a legitimate and valued recreational activity on forest lands.

Please send an e-mail in support of the immediate reopening of Rampart to:

Tom Tidwell, Chief of the Forest Service, at ttidwell@fs.fed.us, and copy your letter to:

Senator Mark Udall at senator_mark_udall@markudall.senate.gov,
Senator Michael Bennet at http://bennet.senate.gov/contact/,
Congressman Doug Lamborn at CO05ima@mail.house.gov, and
Governor Bill Ritter by clicking here.

Please stress that keeping the range closed is not supportable by the investigative report; that the closure has robbed the shooting community of a valuable resource; and that needed improvements to the range can be planned and implemented without closure.

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