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It was procedure, not politics, that prompted this protest

Because of a procedural vote last week on the floor of the Colorado House, I have been accused of not supporting our gun rights and the Second Amendment. That is an absolute lie! I always will stand firmly for the rights guaranteed us by the Second Amendment.

Let me explain what happened on the floor that has made this an issue. Every morning after the House is called to order and the roll has been called, the first order of business is a routine motion to dispense with the reading and to adopt the journal of the previous day.

The journal is the history of what happens during the legislative session. Part of the record in the journal was the hearing by the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee of SB 175 which would have repealed firearms magazine restrictions. SB 175 failed in committee on a 7-6 partisan vote, with Republicans voting in favor of repeal and Democrats voting against. I am not a member of that committee, but if I were, there is no question that I would have voted for the repeal. When a bill fails in a committee, it goes no farther in the process.

Rep. Kim Ransom made an unprecedented motion that the journal reflect that SB 175 had passed in the committee. If her motion had been adopted, it would have changed the record of what really happened in the committee, which in my opinion would have been ethically wrong.

Speaker of the House Dicky Lee Hullinghorst ruled that Rep. Ransom was out of order. Rep. Justin Everett then challenged the ruling of the speaker and asked for a recorded vote. I did not agree that the truthfulness of the journal should be changed.

I agreed that Rep. Ransom’s motion was out of order, and I voted with the majority to uphold the ruling of the speaker. My vote had nothing to do with repealing the magazine ban, and I resent those who would question my integrity on this issue.

However, the action of Republican Reps. Everett and Ransom begs the question as to why they made these surprise motions. They did not communicate to the House Republican leadership their intentions, so it was very difficult for the leadership to respond. These actions did not hurt the Democrat Caucus but certainly had negative ramifications for Republicans. I have had no problems with Reps. Ransom and Everett. In fact, I attend a little Bible study every Tuesday morning with Rep. Ransom, so I don’t believe their actions were to intentionally hurt me or any other Republican. I believe they innocently acted under the guidance of someone else.

It is interesting that within seconds of the recorded vote, it was reported on the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners website that I and other Republicans were lambasted for our vote. The leader of RMGO is Dudley Brown. Dudley was quoted in The Denver Post as saying that any Republican who voted to uphold the ruling of the speaker would be “in danger in the next primary.”

For the record, I did have a small altercation with Mr. Brown at the National Republican Convention in 2012 when I felt that he was trying to bully me. I have been a member of RMGO, and I would hope that Dudley would come to me directly if he has a problem, rather than use the Internet.

There are many questions that probably never will be answered. In the meantime, I will continue to try to do what is right and leave the politics out of it.

J. Paul Brown represents House District 59 in Colorado’s General Assembly. The district encompasses Archuleta, La Plata and San Juan counties and parts of Montezuma County. Contact Rep. Brown by phone at (303) 866-2914 or by email at jpaul.brown.house@state.co.us.

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