Letters 5/13/21

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Polis must sign SB 21-200

Gov. Polis ran and won on a platform of 100% renewables and strong climate action. However, his recent threat to veto SB 21-200: Reduce Greenhouse Gases Increase Environmental Justice, reveals he has no real intentions of addressing our state’s climate crisis.

SB 21-200 would provide enforcement and resources for ensuring we reach our state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. Two years ago, the Colorado Assembly passed and the governor signed HB 1261, which aimed to cut the state’s greenhouse gases by 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. 

We are not on track to meet these emissions reduction goals. SB 21-200 will ensure we reach these targets with hard emissions limits from each sector, a March 1, 2022 deadline for implementation, and a fee on carbon dioxide and methane. Fees would fund a first-ever office of environmental justice to ensure consultation with disproportionately impacted communities living near coal plants, refineries and fracking sites.

It is unacceptable that our governor should threaten to veto SB 21-200, legislation that would ensure we meet critical climate goals he himself supported and helped to pass. The governor takes issue with giving “dictatorial authority over our economy to one unelected board,” namely the Air Quality Control Commission. Under our system of checks and balances, the legislative branch passes the laws and the executive branch — in this case, the AQCC — carries them out. Indeed, the governor appoints the commission, who are then approved by the Senate. 

Does the governor want to protect Coloradans from spiralling wildfires and prolonged droughts or not? If so, he should support legislation that will ensure we meet our climate action targets, and sign SB 21-200.  

Tom Stumpf/Longmont 

Federal gun violence legislation

The League of Women Voters of Boulder County (LWVBC) supports Boulder City Council Resolution 1288, pushing for federal gun violence legislation. Gun violence continues to tear the fabric of families and communities in Colorado and all over the U.S. through mass shootings, and daily shootings that disproportionately impact people of color. Recognizing this ongoing public safety threat, the League has, since 1990, advocated for policies to curb gun violence and encourage gun safety. Our national League policy position supports regulation of firearms, waiting periods and background checks, personal identity verification, gun safety education, annual license renewal and more.

In light of the tragic shooting and deaths at the Boulder King Soopers, LWVBC strongly encourages our Colorado elected officials to introduce bills that would: ban assault weapons; establish a gun purchase waiting period of at least six days; add a 10-year prohibition on firearm purchase for people with conviction of, or outstanding warrants for, violent misdemeanors or crimes that are linked to an increased risk of gun violence; repeal state preemption on local firearm regulation; and increase the minimum age to purchase and possess firearms.

For 30 years, the League has worked in the halls of Congress and the state Capitol, and marched in the streets to advocate for gun safety. We appreciate the actions of many of our local, state and federal legislators who have already proven their dedication to achieving gun safety. And, we again encourage elected officials to do what it takes to ensure all people and all communities are safe from gun violence. More information on the LWVBC Gun Safety Team can be found at lwvbc.org.

 Elizabeth Crowe, President

Move the needle on gun violence

I’m sick and tired of gun violence. I want to be safe going to the grocery store, and I want my grandchildren to be safe at school. Thoughts and prayers don’t cut it. Feel-good but ineffective gun control legislation doesn’t cut it. I want results. I want to move the needle on gun violence in a big positive direction. We need out-of-box thinking to solve the difficult problem of gun violence that plagues this nation.

But first we must look at what won’t work. Gun control doesn’t work. Thousands of gun control laws have been enacted, but none has ever moved the needle on gun violence. Gun control is a hopeless cause for insurmountable reasons: By and large the police are pro-gun and they don’t want to enforce gun control laws; It will be difficult to find a jury of 12 willing to convict a peaceful harmless citizen for violating a victimless gun control law; Will gun control laws stand up to constitutional scrutiny?; No matter what President Biden or Congress does, ghost guns are never going away. Ghost guns effectively nullify all gun control laws; and illegal guns will always be readily available on the black market. Push hard on gun control, and the black market in guns will flourish.

How do we move the needle? 

We must address the root causes of gun violence. One chief root cause is the failed war on drugs. End the war, and all the gun violence related to drug deals gone bad and drug gangs fighting over drug territories disappears. It would also result in far less gun violence in Mexico, Central and South America, which would have the side benefit of dramatically reducing the number of people who come here to escape violence in their home countries.

Statistically most gun violence happens in poorer neighborhoods. Therefore, we need to dramatically and sustainably grow the economy. The only proven method to grow the economy is to end economic political controls, by: dramatically reducing government spending, taxation and regulation; and abolishing occupational licensure, zoning and minimum wage laws.

A growing economy will provide more resources for suicide prevention, mental health and drug addiction treatment.

Finally, gun-free zones must be abolished. According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, about 94% of mass shootings occur in gun-free zones. They don’t work. The solution that moves the needle on gun violence in a positive direction is freedom — not violating rights.

Chuck Wright/Westminster