4/00 Colorado Governor Owens

Colorado Governor Owens Sliding Down A Slippery Slope
Larry Pratt

All too often — sad to say — “conservative” Republicans, who say they support the Second Amendment to our Constitution, are among the gun-grabbers who are working tirelessly to destroy our fundamental, God-given right as individuals to keep and bear arms. A case in point is Bill Owens, the GOP Governor of Colorado.

When Gov. Owens spoke recently (2/29/2000) at the Heritage Foundation in Washington DC a flyer promoting his appearance noted that he was different from those “Liberals [who] screamed for stricter gun control” after tragedy struck at Columbine High School. And, in some ways, Gov. Owens is not like these Liberal screamers. For example, he calls himself a conservative and he is very soft-spoken.

But, still, Gov. Owens is calling for stricter gun controls.

In his State Of The State Address (1/6/2000), Gov. Owens called for: A ban on all so-called “straw purchases” of firearms; juvenile record background checks for firearms purchases; the “safe storage” of all firearms in the home; a state background check for guns bought at gun shows; raising the age for buying handguns from 18 to 21; and making permanent the state criminal background check system for gun purchases.

Interestingly, Gov. Owens referred to these proposals as “common sense” gun control, words used by President Clinton to push his anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

In an interview, when it is suggested that — whether he intends it or not — he is on a slippery slope, and allying himself with the ducks who are nibbling the Second Amendment to death, Gov. Owens strongly denies this.

Rejecting a no-compromise approach to the Second Amendment, he says this approach “will lead us to more gun control, quicker, than my approach which is able to be resilient and able to in fact hold ground for the future.” He likens a no-compromise approach to the Second Amendment to the Maginot Line, a French fortification in World War One which was, supposedly, a colossal blunder.

But, Gov. Owens is sadly, and dangerously, mistaken. He can call his tactics whatever he wants to call them. But, what they amount to, in reality, is surrender on the installment plan. He speaks of having to be “resilient” now in order to “hold ground for the future.” But, what ground? Seriously, if Gov. Owens, and other supposedly “conservative” supporters of the Second Amendment, continue to give ground on the gun issue at the present rate — “at the margins,” as he says — then it is only a matter of time before there will be no more ground to defend!

But, in fact, Gov. Owens seriously misunderstands our strategy and tactics. Our no-compromise approach to the Second Amendment is not defensive. It is offensive — attack, attack, always attack! the enemies of the Second Amendment.

Gov. Owens insists that he is yielding to gun control only where its advocates “have a point.” But, is this true? He asks, for example, regarding his call for a ban on so-called “straw purchases”: “Why on earth would we legally allow someone to buy a firearm for somebody who couldn’t legally buy it for himself?”

But, when pressed, and asked if he knows for a fact that “straw purchases” are really a problem, does he know how many guns purchased this way have been used in crimes, he replies: “No, I don’t.” Then why support such a ban? He says he’s “not going to engage in a long debate on gun issues” — or, for that matter, obviously, give even a brief answer to this reasonable question.

As for Gov. Owens’ support of the instant background check, this is nothing more than caving in to the wrong-headed gun control mentality which seems to believe that criminals will be participating in, and be thwarted by, such a check, which is ludicrous.

He also seems totally oblivious to the fact that such an imposition such a check places on the non-criminal element (registering them on an FBI computer) will do nothing to control crime.

Concerning Columbine, one of the things that seems to guarantee that such tragedies will in fact become a slaughter is that the murderers can assume that they are the only ones with firearms. So, how about allowing school officials — principals, teachers and/or other designated personnel — to carry firearms in our schools?

Gov. Owens is against this saying: “You know, these things happen regardless of whether you have concealed-carry. I’m thinking of the killer in the Texas Baptist church, where they do have concealed-carry in that state. This still doesn’t mean that somebody is going to be — I’m not gonna, I don’t think we ought to have concealed-carry in the schools…. I don’t think that post-Columbine, in Colorado, more guns in schools are the answer.”

But, of course, the situation now is that where we have had “more guns” in some schools the only ones with guns have been the murderers! As for that Texas church, just because no one there carried a concealed weapon doesn’t mean that this would have been a bad idea. What is a bad idea is the status quo where, all too often, the only people with firearms are the murderers.

When Gov. Owens is pressed, and asked why he is against school officials being allowed to carry firearms, he says he will not “debate” this issue. But, aren’t people without guns always more vulnerable to people with guns? No reply.

In his talk at the Heritage Foundation about our culture — in which he said many good things — Gov. Owens made a very important observation. He said: “Great civilizations are not destroyed overnight.” Amen! And the same thing can be said about our Constitutionally-protected rights and liberties.

Historically, they, too, have been eroded, slowly but surely — as in the case of the Second Amendment.

Gov. Bill Owens may deny, as he does, that he sliding down a slippery slope toward the destruction of our God-given, individual right to keep and bear arms. But, he’s wrong. He’s sliding much faster than he realizes — and in the wrong direction.