President Obama's trip to Denver today to lift up Colorado as "a model of what's possible" on gun control in D.C. The interesting comparison, though, isn't why Congress won't stand up to the NRA — that answer is obvious — but what happened to the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, the state's gun lobby that is, if anything, more radical than the NRA.
In its public statements in recent days, the group seems to be desperately trying to figure that out itself. On Wednesday morning, RMGO's Dudley Brown was on NPR promising to retaliate against gun grabbers. "I liken it to the proverbial hunting season," Brown says. "We tell gun owners, 'There's a time to hunt deer. And the next election is the time to hunt Democrats.'" That bravado, however, could mask panic because the group finds itself in an unfamiliar position: losing.
After James Holmes massacred moviegoers at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, like the NRA after Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting, was confident that it could head off any call for new gun laws. Jim Merlino, who worked as Democratic policy director for the Colorado Senate minority in 2003, described the clout of the RMGO: "Out here in Colorado, the National Rifle Association is considered a left-wing Washington-based organization." He added, "In Colorado, our gun laws were written to work for the RMGO and given the force of law by the Republican Party." Merlino predicted, "if you now think that meaningful gun control can emerge in Colorado – you’re dreaming."