2024 Leg Session, Cory Gaines, Exclusives, Local Gun Rights, Media, Uncategorized

Gaines: Imagine if journalists covered guns like they do abortion

I think you can take Democrat House Majority Leader Duran at her word when she recently told CPR News, that she and her colleagues made passing gun control legislation “…routine, just as anything else that we run.”  Since taking over all levers of power at the state level, and suffering no negative consequences, majority Democrats have indeed made gun control legislation “routine” in Colorado.

In that same CPR article, Duran is also quoted as saying, “I know the bills we passed this year will make a big difference in making our community safer.”  Regardless of where you put the balance point between individual liberties and tradeoffs made in the name of safety, I hope that we could agree that we should be careful putting restrictions on any kind of rights.  One really important way we can tread carefully when passing such laws is by monitoring said laws for their efficacy and adverse effects.  Everyday people don’t often have the time or resources to follow up on things like that and so this feels like a job ripe for the news media, the same folks who like to position themselves as government watchdogs.

Except, all too often, they don’t check.  Statements like Duran’s just sit there flapping in the breeze.  As was the case with Governor Polis’ misleading quote about electric school buses, journalists all too often act as obedient scribes for left-of-center politicians.

With guns I find this particularly tough to swallow for a number of reasons.  Think about how much time and attention the mainstream media have put to the abortion issue post Roe v. Wade.  Since abortion ceased to be a manufactured right (one that was never actually spelled out explicitly in the Constitution), barrels of figurative ink have been spilled, including by CPR .  Hardly a week goes by without an article detailing the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Contrast that with what happens in Colorado with guns, an equally polarizing issue with strong feelings on both sides.  Articles get written about the policies, especially about big controversial bills like the second-time loser “assault weapons” ban, but do you see articles that detail in a similar way how policy choices by Colorado Democrats are affecting Coloradans’ ability to exercise the right to keep and bear arms?  To defend themselves or their families?

There is a definite limit to what we can study and know about the effectiveness of gun control policy; it’s the nature of the world we live in.  Still, this doesn’t mean that we can’t ask questions.  How many people are getting charged under new and existing gun control laws?  How many people (and in what ways) are breaking our current gun laws when committing a crime?   How many concealed carry permit holders commit gun crimes?  The list goes on.

All great fodder for reporters to dig into, but they don’t.  Well, let me edit that.  They go in great depth and detail following up as long as it’s something that would sell to their audience, they are either interested in, or that fits the current progressive social and media narrative for a particular situation.  Do you remember the Club Q shooting?  Do you remember how much time the media spent on chasing down information about use of Colorado’s “red flag” law, and, in particular, how it wasn’t used by the (Republican) El Paso County Sheriff?  A quick look at CPR News’ topic page shows lengthy and varied follow up (and this from just one news outlet).

I wrote to the author of the article that quotes Representative Duran, CPR’s Bente Birkeland, to ask her whether or not they intended to follow up on the claim that the bills the Democrats passed this year will make our communities safer.  She responded that “We [presumably CPR News, she didn’t specify] don’t have an exact time frame…etc but yes we will be following up on the impact of the policies.”  I did look for past articles about the impact of gun control policy in this state, but couldn’t find any outside of the ones about the red flag Law.  When I then asked Ms. Birkeland about whether or not I was correct in saying that there were none, she didn’t respond.

Imagine how different things would look in this state if our media followed up on gun control the same way they did with abortion, or if they got interested in exploring the issue from some perspective other than “Pro-Second Amendment sheriff didn’t get a red flag order and now people are dead” (just to be clear–there was no way for the El Paso Sheriff to have taken the shooter’s guns).

Holding government accountable is about more than simply telling us who passed what and getting a quick quote so you can bang out an article and move on.

Cory Gaines is a regular contributor to Complete Colorado.  He lives in Sterling on Colorado’s Eastern Plains and also writes at the Colorado Accountability Project substack.


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