Wiretap: Gun laws reloaded; heavy metals; Attorney General Coffman’s marijuana talks

Roadside gun sign.

Target Practice

In The Coloradoan, Stephen Meyer took aim at Colorado gun laws: “Twenty months into implementation, Colorado’s gun-control laws are mostly unenforceable and have done little to nothing to attain bill sponsors’ goals, according to gun rights advocates and statewide data. Three people have been convicted of failing to obey the new background-check laws since a bill to expand the requirements went into effect in July 2013.”

But digging deeper into the story, readers will discover: “There were 512,028 background checks from July 1, 2013 to the end of February 2015. Of those, only 10,412 (or 2 percent) were denied.” Yes, only 2 percent. That means 10,412 gun shoppers with mental health issues and/or criminal convictions for domestic abuse, burglary, murder, rape, et cetera were denied guns. That’s a successful policy.

High Courts

Newly elected Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman discussed one of the pending lawsuits targeting the state’s new recreational marijuana laws. She described meeting with attorney generals from Nebraska and Oklahoma: One was timid and the other hard-edged. “So now I know who is the warrior and who I can settle with,” she said. “Maybe I’ll play them against one another.” Via The Grand Junction Sentinel.

Take Charge

To avoid a conflict of interest, Arapahoe County has given the case of Paul Jerothe, the Aurora policeman who shot an unarmed man, to Jefferson County prosecutors who will decide whether to press charges. Via The Aurora Sentinel.

Heavy Metal

Last week, EPA officials asked to start testing for heavy metal contamination in the soil of Silverton, home to mining and smelting operations. According to The Durango Herald, many in the town expressed skepticism. “This community is 100 percent based on tourism,” trustee David Zanoni said. “I don’t even want to think about tagging the word ‘Superfund’ with Silverton […] that’s just a knife in our economy.”

For EPA project manager Paula Schmittdiel, it’s about the children: “They tend to be playing in the dirt and sand, and there’s potential for children to ingest even small amounts of heavy metals in soil.” When it comes to the neurological risks, it’s better to know, she said.

Quiz Showdown

Liberal Democrats don’t like testing because of the burden it puts on teachers. Tea Party Republicans argue testing is a sign of needless government intervention. Despite bipartisan support and Gov. John Hickenlooper’s endorsement, Senate Bill 215, designed to reduce testing, may not pass in the Statehouse. Eric Gorski and John Frank, of the Denver Post, explain why.

Why Us?

Indiana’s so-called “religious freedom” law will almost certainly become an issue in the GOP presidential primary, posits The Washington Post. Candidates will be torn between the Christian right and the chamber-of-commerce center, and it will be difficult to keep both. Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence wonders why Indiana has become the focus of an angry backlash when 19 other states have similar laws. For an answer, he should read the Fix, via The Washington Post.

Good Job

Economists know undocumented immigrants are not taking jobs from citizens. On the contrary, immigrants are the real job creators in the U.S. economy. Via NPR’s “Planet Money” show-founder Adam Davidson, writing for The New York Times.

Dealer’s Choice

Steve Coll explains in The New Yorker why Obama’s attempt to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran is a risk worth taking. Jeffrey Goldberg agrees, sort of, in The Atlantic, but says there are many reasons to be concerned.

 Aftershave

When Harry Reid announced he would retire in 2016, the big question became who would succeed him as Senate Democratic leader. Reid is pushing Chuck Schumer. Progressives immediately turned to Elizabeth Warren. But Jamelle Bouie writes in Slate that if progressives really want be competitive, they should back Patty Murray.

 Photo courtesy of Sister72 at Flickr. 

 

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.

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