Baumgardner step-family background check bill comes with backstory

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t was a 30-year-old High Standard nine-shot nickel-plated revolver with imitation pearl handles and it was lying on a shelf in the front hallway closet at state Senator Randy Baumgardner’s house in Hot Sulfur Springs. And then it was gone.

In the report he made to the Grand County Sheriff’s office, Baumgardner said he suspected no burglar came and took the gun. It was more likely someone who knew it was just sitting there in the closet, like maybe his stepson, 24-year-old Michael Gramm, who had recently taken a job in Texas. Baumgardner didn’t want to make trouble for his stepson. He just wanted to make sure the fact the gun was missing was recorded and that, if it ever turned up, he might get it back.

The police report is dated 2012.

Baumgardner today will be testifying in favor of a bill he has introduced to expand exceptions to a law passed last year that requires background checks for non-purchase gun transfers. The law now says that immediate family members don’t have to get background checks to trade firearms. Baumgardner wants the law to include step-relatives as part of the family members exempted from background checks.

It’s hard not to see the missing nickel-plated High Standard nine-shot as some part of the back story of the bill. Baumgardner didn’t return messages today seeking comment.

His bill comes as part of a package of bills introduced by Republicans this year aimed at loosening gun laws passed last year and that caused an uproar among gun-rights activists in the state. The bill — SB 090 — will likely not make it out of the Senate’s Democratic-controlled State Affairs Committee.

Indeed, the fact that Baumgardner served on the police force in Indiana for five years as a young man but still left his pistol unlocked in a front hallway closet to be stolen is exactly the kind of story that will bolster Democratic arguments in favor of retaining tighter gun laws.

Baumgardner is still formally one of a crowded field of Republicans running for the chance to unseat Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall this year. Baumgardner has raised little money and seems to have adopted a low-key approach to campaigning.

[ Image via American Products ]


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