County's move to laud NRA draws fire

GARRISON WELLS Updated: April 3, 2013 at 12:00 am • Published: April 3, 2013 0

Even before the El Paso County commissioners vote, a proposal to name April 4 “Friends of NRA Day” is drawing flak.

“Our objection is that we just feel that the county commissioners, as elected officials, should try to represent the view of everyone in the county,” said Monica Hobbs, one of a group fighting the proposal.

“By creating a day like that for the NRA, it’s going into a niche area,” she said. “And with the heated debate and direction the county has already gone, it’s just another way of saying that we are not listening to everybody in our constituency.”

The commissioners in January approved a resolution supporting the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms.

The latest resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Peggy Littleton, will be voted on Thursday at the regular county commission meeting.

It’s not the first time the commissioners have approved the resolution for the National Rifle Association, Littleton said.

Indeed, it has been presented eight of the past 10 years, she said.

“The board sponsors many resolutions for community members, some of those being for parks, the Humane Society, Earth Day, Single Parents day,” Littleton said.

Friends of the NRA “is a valuable community member,” she said.

The Colorado Springs committee, she added, made up of local volunteers, has been around for 18 years.

Littleton cited local grants from the nonprofit supporting Boy Scouts of America shooting programs, El Paso and Elbert counties’ shooting programs for 4-H and for its help getting a one-time matching grant of $25,000 for the Cheyenne Mountain Shooting Complex, which opened in January.

The grants, she said, have helped ensure “our youth are taught the proper way to handle firearms, the proper intent of using firearms for sport and recreational shooting, educational and hunting programs” and programs for women who have never fired a gun.

“It seems we would welcome a group that teaches responsible firearms practices to make us a safer community,” Littleton said.

In a written statement, opponents say the commissioners “have gone overboard to express support for gun owners, and have put their needs above the community concerns for public safety.”

The opponents were also critical of El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, a vocal opponent of Colorado gun control legislation limiting the size of magazines and requiring background checks for private sales and transfers of weapons.

President Barack Obama was in Denver on Wednesday in support of Colorado’s gun control laws.

“We are moms who want sanity in this charged environment and who expect a more rational response from our elected officials about the problem of gun violence,” opponent Cyndy Kulp said in the statement.

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