Colorado’s so-called “Make My Day Better” bill, which was approved two weeks ago by the House of Representatives with a four-vote majority, has been killed by Senate Democrats.
The proposal, by Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and Sen. Ted Harvey (R-Highlands Ranch), would have expanded Colorado’s Make My Day law, which enables people to use deadly force against intruders in their homes, into stores and other businesses. The original bill also allowed people to use deadly force when they felt threatened in their vehicles, but that provision was removed before passing the House.
A number of concerns were raised over HB 1011, including that disagreements could quickly escalate into murderous violence.Sen. Sue Windels (D-Arvada) also expressed concern that the proposal didn’t specify who could shoot whom in the place of business, meaning, ostensibly, that anyone who comes into a business uninvited could be shot – with the shooter claiming that he or she felt threatened.
Any number of scenarios could play out under the law, Windels said, including gang members who shoot each other inside a business.
“It can be anybody,” she said.
However, Harvey argued that, “all we are talking about is you have the right to self-protection and you have to prove you are using it for self-protection.”
“It doesn’t give anyone the authority to shoot a bunch of kids who are walking in the door, or a straight-A student who is walking in the door,” he said.
Sen. Chris Romer, a Denver Democrat, noted that statewide law enforcement organizations, including those representing Colorado sheriffs, police chiefs and district attorneys, oppose the bill. Romer offered that perhaps lawmakers should work with these groups to glean support from law enforcement over an issue that is “critical” to law enforcement.
Countered Harvey: “My goal is not to come down here to represent the police chiefs. My job is coming down to represent the citizens of the State of Colorado.”
Three of the five members of the State, Veterans & Military Affairs committee disagreed, and killed the bill.
Cara DeGette is a longtime Colorado journalist and a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.