Commissioners say no to gun control

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Teller County commissioners weighed in on the gun-control issue riveting the country now. Since the mass murder of school children in Newtown, Conn. in December, some call for more guns while others call for more control.

To emphasize their position, commissioners Marc Dettenrieder and Dave Paul passed a resolution Feb. 28 upholding the Second Amendment. The resolution cites the 2008 Supreme Court decision in District of Columbia v. Heller which ruled that the amendment protects an individual's right to keep and bear arms.

As well, the resolution highlights the fact that studies by the National Academies of Science and Center for Disease Control have found no persuasive evidence that “gun control” laws actually reduce crime.

The resolution is directed at the President, the U.S. Congress, Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado General Assembly. The document asks these individuals and entities to recognize that the multitude of existing laws related to the manufacture, sale and possession of firearms, and acknowledge that in order to combat gun violence the United States must enforce existing laws and more effectively to deter those who violate such laws.

“This was a symbolic gesture, a statement,” Dettenrieder said. “I certainly oppose the four gun-related bills in the state House and now moving on to the Senate. I look at the resolution as a way to get more counties involved in a show of force.”

Dettenrieder is particularly riled about SB 196, the Assault Weapon Responsibility Act, proposed by Colorado Senate President John Morse. The bill, if passed, would hold owners and sellers of assault weapons liable for crimes committed with the guns.

The entire roster of bills passed by the House is reactive, Dettenrieder said. “The legislation comes from a group that uses tragedy to advance their agenda and is a chip-away approach at our liberties,” he said. “These bills are an infringement on the Constitution.”

Granted, the resolution is only a small gesture, said commission chair Dave Paul. “Of all these things we do as a commission this will probably have the least effect,” Paul said. “But if we do this as a county maybe Washington will get the hint. They're only looking at gun control because it's the politically-expedient thing to do.”

While the commissioners are not law-enforcement officers, the resolution is their way of taking a stand to defend the Constitution and the Second Amendment. To that end, commissioner Norm Steen was in Washington Feb. 28, representing the county at the National Association of Counties.

“He will be talking to our federal legislators on the issue of gun control,” Paul said.