As upset as Republicans are about Gov. John Hickenlooper's recent embrace of modest gun law reforms in Colorado, it's going to be very hard on a practical level to find opposition to closing the "loophole" noted below.
The Durango Herald reports:
Gov. John Hickenlooper announced plans Tuesday to improve the state's psychiatric crisis care and keep mentally unstable people from buying guns.
Hickenlooper and his Cabinet began working on the plan just days after the Aurora movie theater massacre in July, and they scheduled Tuesday's announcement well before a gunman killed 20 children and seven adults and himself last Friday in Connecticut.
"We have a duty after tragedy to look at what we do, how we act and how we help others," Hickenlooper said.
Hickenlooper wants Colorado courts to send mental health commitment records to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation in real time so they can be used for background checks of people who want to buy guns. Currently, the CBI gets the information twice a year on a CD-ROM.
Hickenlooper could not explain why it has taken so long to send the information to the CBI.
"There are too many things like that in government," he said.
The idea that in the modern connected world, the Colorado Bureau of Investigations only receives notifications about mental health commitments twice a year will be rightly considered absurd by most citizens, even as the gun lobby indiscriminately, if toothlessly, declares any such attempt to improve existing law a threat.
Hickenlooper is proposing to create a new mental health hotline and more walk-in crisis centers. He also refutes criticism from some Republicans that mental health access should be the focus, not restricting access to guns. Presumably this means the $18 million Hickenlooper is seeking to pay for that will not be a problem.
These proposals from Hickenlooper are unlikely to represent everything we'll see on the issue in the upcoming Colorado legislative session; look for legislation on universal background checks on gun sales, as well as a possible ban on certain high-capacity ammunition magazines. We don't how how much more will be possible at the state level, but these are significant measures - a major reversal of momentum on the issue from before last summer. And they're the kinds of common sense measures that even a majority of gun owners say they support.
In fact, we really can't see how anyone can rationally oppose any of these now.