Two Democratic state legislators in Colorado lost recall elections yesterday.
Their crime? Passing legislation that says you need to check if the guy buying your gun is a convicted murderer, even if you have foolishly let him into your house, and that limits ammo magazines to 15 rounds.
Ask yourself, who wants to sell guns to murders? And what kind of hunter needs more than 15 bullets to kill a deer, or even a bear?
So, logically, people opposed to this law fall into 4 groups (and those who love them):
A. Convicted murderers, rapists, and other felons;
B. Really bad hunters who believe that even if it takes a spray of 100 rounds, a hunter is entitled to kill something;
C. People who want to kill a lot of animals, all at once; and
D. People who want to kill a lot of people, all at once.
(In theory, there is a fifth category: People who want to go to a practice range and pretend to kill a bunch of people, all at once. It strikes me that we can safely leave them out of the analysis because of the near total overlap with Group D.)
Colorado has a lot of hunters, but they would fairly object to the suggestion that they have millions of hunters with atrocious aim. So where does all the money come from to organize the signatures to get the recall on the ballot? And then even more money to get out the votes in a state that has never previously recalled a legislator? The NRA alone doesn't have that kind of cash.
But there are two men who, in the context of state politics, have an effectively infinite supply of money, thanks to SCOTUS and Citizens United:
David and Charles Koch.
The gun issue has come to the forefront in part because that great preacher of judicial restraint, Nino Scalia, decided to overturn the entire 200 years of Second Amendment precedent and find an individual right to bear arms in Heller. The originalist paragon concluded that the Framers nonsense about a militia was mere surplusage, and substituted his view for all that came before. (For a scathing critique of just this sort of arrogance, see Scalia's dissent in the Prop 8 case: Hollingsworth v. Perry.) Since Heller, "gun rights" (What rights does a gun have? Ask Ted Cruz.) advocates have been on the march, spoiling for a fight, and passing the hat--the perfect cause for two sociopaths from Wichita with money burning holes in their pockets.
Combine Heller with Citizens United and you get the short term defeat suffered by common sense in Colorado.
But in the long term, these defeats will doom the GOP. Like a cunning General stringing out his opponent's supply lines, these decisions draw the GOP further and further into territory that they won't be able to defend.
Today, they are the party that defeated two state legislators. But forever after, they are the party of murders, rapists, and hunters who need an Uzi to take down Bambi. That's not a winning coalition.
1. In this hearing, Ted Cruz explains to Diane Feinstein (I am not making this up), that the Second Amendment is just like the First: the right "shall not be infringed". Therefore, just like every person in America has the right to free speech, every gun in America has the right to be borne. You think I'm make this up, don't you?