Gazette by extension called Colorado police chiefs "criminal-coddling ninnies" regarding deadly force bill
Research ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
An editorial in The Gazette of Colorado Springs called Democratic state legislators "criminal-coddling ninnies" for opposing the "Make My Day Better" bill, which would have added "places of business" to the locations where occupants are immune from penalty for using deadly force in self-defense. The editorial did not note that among the "weak-kneed" opposing the measure was the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police.
In a February 28 editorial, The Gazette of Colorado Springs characterized state Senate Democrats as "criminal-coddling ninnies" for opposing an extension of Colorado's 1985 so-called "Make My Day" law to cover businesses. While The Gazette noted that 13th Judicial District Attorney Bob Watson supported the bill, calling it "a 'logical extension' of the current law," the editorial failed to mention that the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police sided with the "weak-kneed" Democrats in opposing the measure.
Under existing law (18-1-704.5.), "any occupant of a dwelling" is immune from civil or criminal penalty for "using physical force, including deadly physical force" against another person:
when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.
House Bill 1011, dubbed "Make My Day Better," would have added "places of business" to the locations where the law applies. The bill passed the House on a vote of 34-30 with bipartisan support on February 14, but was defeated in the Senate's State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a 3-2 vote along party lines on February 26. According to the Gazette editorial:
Senate Democrats on Monday gunned down a commonsense extension of Colorado's "make my day" law that would have protected people who use deadly force while defending themselves in a place of business. And what a bunch of criminal-coddling ninnies they seemed while doing so.
A citizen's right to self defense is God-given and absolute, whether she is at home, at the workplace, riding in a car or walking down a sidewalk, so it always struck us as silly and superfluous that such laws are needed in the first place. But given the evident failure of some people to grasp the concept of an indivisible right to self-defense, we suppose such bills are a necessary evil.
All this one would have done is grant business owners the same protections all Coloradans enjoy if they have to use deadly force during a home invasion. But Democrats evidently believe the right to self defense changes with the scenery, and killed the bill on a 3-2 committee vote -- using arguments that seem to confirm their reputations for caring more about criminals than for the rights of average citizens.
One person who testified in favor of the bill, 13th Judicial District Attorney Bob Watson, called it a "logical extension" of the current law that might deter crime. "Every bad guy on the street knows about the 'Make My Day' law," Watson said. "This bill would do the same thing -- get the bad guys to maybe think twice."
Evidently, it also made Democrats think twice.
The vote "shows a blatant disregard for our right to protect ourselves from criminals without fear of prosecution," said a disappointed Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, who blamed "Denver Democrats" for the setback and promised to bring the bill back again next year. But what good will that do, we wonder, as long as the party of sub-divided rights and weak-kneed ninnies is in charge?
However, as the Rocky Mountain News reported on February 27, the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police opposed the measure on the grounds that its vague wording would invite inappropriate use of deadly force:
Law enforcement from across the state squared off over the measure, with Colorado Sheriffs' Association backing the bill Monday, saying it would deter crimes against businesses.
But Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates, representing the Colorado Police Chiefs Association, argued that the bill's language was vague and broad and would allow the use of deadly force in everyday disputes between business owners and customers.
"It would allow irrational people to use deadly force," he said.
Similarly, an Associated Press article in the February 26 Denver Post noted that HB 1011 "was backed by the County Sheriffs of Colorado but opposed by the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police." According to the article:
Aurora police chief Dan Oates said arguments can easily break out between business owners and customers.
"Empowering the use of deadly force by frightened people is not rational policy," Oates said.