Talking about guns

Second Amendment rights dominate Roberts, Coram Expo discussion

State Sen. Ellen Roberts and Representative Don Coram  talk to residents at the Ag Expo. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

State Sen. Ellen Roberts and Representative Don Coram talk to residents at the Ag Expo.

Guns and the Second Amendment dominated Saturday's morning forum where Sen. Ellen Roberts and Rep. Don Coram spoke to about 20 constituents at the Four States Agricultural Exposition.

The two state Republican legislators spoke for about an hour on a variety of issues, but the majority of those in attendance wanted to talk about the status of this year's gun bills.

Many of the bills are headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper who is expected to sign them into law.

Roberts urged those in attendance to contact the governor to let their voices be heard.

Coram said when the Second Amendment rights were being threatened, Roberts was at the forefront fighting to retain these rights.

That fight may have been unsuccessful.

"It is what it is," Coram said, before mentioning the bills are headed to the governor's office for his signature.

"I don't see how it will solve anything," he said.

The two legislators explained that if 30-round gun magazines were banned in Colorado, residents would go to neighboring states to purchase them.

"These are all unenforceable," Roberts said, and explained the majority of the sheriff's offices in the state are not going to make it a priority to arrest people who have these types of magazines.

Roberts said guns in rural areas are like a shovel or any other tool that is needed.

She also said people have a constitutional right to bear arms and it should be allowed for public safety.

Making people criminals for having high-capacity gun magazines makes little sense, she said.

Coram also mentioned that 88 percent of the population in the state live on the Front Range and added there is a big difference between the rural and urban populations in the state.

Coram discussed the tail dockings bill, which he believes is the humane's society way to try to shut down agriculture producers.

He also said the state Legislature in this year's session has not done anything to help the economy or to look into finding jobs for those unemployed and instead have been concentrating on social issues.

He mentioned civil unions and the bill that allows illegal immigrants to get in state tuition as just two of the bills that does little for the economy.

Coram said this is only possible because of the executive order by the president and wondered if the next president would want to continue this.

"I do not think this was the right thing to do," he said.

Roberts agreed saying that while immigration reform is needed it should not be piece mealed.

"This is a very difficult year," she said and added the real importance is finding jobs for residents.

She said people should expect to have the resources to have a roof over their heads with enough food.

The two legislators briefly talked about a bill that would raise salaries for elected officials working for counties, something that has not been done for eight years.

County Assessor Mark Vanderpool said, while this would not affect him due to term limits, he is still in favor of this occurring.

"You get what you pay for to a certain degree," he said.

Sage grouse was touched on briefly, but both state legislators explained that this was a federal government issue.

State Rep. Don Coram speaks at the Ag Expo while Senator Ellen Roberts waits her turn. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journa

State Rep. Don Coram speaks at the Ag Expo while Senator Ellen Roberts waits her turn.