Colorado Senator caught red-handed spreading falsehoods to constituents

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
CONTACT: Alan Franklin, Political Director at 303-991-1900

DENVER: Learning today of evidence that Colorado Republican legislators are falsely informing constituents that Democrats in the General Assembly are proposing to “prohibit and criminalize the private transfer of firearms,” ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, demanded Republican legislators immediately stop misleading and inciting the public.

“It’s been a mystery why so many citizens have shown up at the Colorado Capitol in a state of panic about what proposed legislation to reduce gun violence in Colorado might do,” said ProgressNow Colorado political director Alan Franklin. “Now we know what’s been happening: Republicans have been irresponsibly spreading lies and fear about these proposals. We call on Republicans to immediately stop lying to their constituents, apologize to fellow representatives whose legislation they have grossly misrepresented, and set the record straight with at least as much vigor as they spread these lies.”

An email from GOP Sen. Mark Scheffel of Parker to his constituents, posted to a local political blog today, falsely claims that Colorado House Bill 13-1229, sponsored by state Representatives Rhonda Fields and Beth McCann, would “prohibit and criminalize the private transfer of firearms.” In truth, HB13-1229 closes a loophole that allowed many firearms to be transferred without a Colorado Bureau of Investigations background check, and simply requires those checks on most private transfers of guns—just as is already done today at gun stores and gun shows. 1

The language in Sen. Scheffel’s message to constituents appears to have been duplicated verbatim from a National Rifle Association alert on the bills. 2

“There is absolutely no excuse for a Colorado senator to brazenly lie to his constituents,” said Franklin. “If outside groups like the NRA want to mislead their supporters, that’s one thing. But a Colorado legislator has a higher responsibility to tell the truth about the bills they are considering. By claiming to his constituents that a bill to simply close the background check loophole would ‘prohibit and criminalize the private transfer of firearms,’ Sen. Scheffel has broken the trust the voters have placed in him.”

“Colorado,” said Franklin, “needs representatives who are honest with the public they serve. Once again, Colorado Republicans have failed that test.”