Rivera sees no reason to limit gun-owner rights
He says Giron’s gun votes ‘lit the fuse’ for special election
George Rivera, 64, is a retired deputy police chief and spent 34 years in the Pueblo department, retiring in 2005. A Republican, this is his first bid for public office. He is the only alternative candidate on the Sept. 10 special recall election ballot.
Rivera says Democratic state Sen. Angela Giron’s votes for three new gun-control laws this year “lit the fuse” for the recall petition drive that ultimately forced the Sept. 10 special election.
He believes gun-control laws are ineffective and hinder the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
The new law requiring universal background checks on gun purchases won’t stop criminals, in Rivera’s view.
“I don’t believe they make any difference. Criminals will get guns through legal or illegal means,” he said. Most people want a gun for personal protection, he said, so background checks only interfere with their right to safety.
Limiting gun magazines to 15 rounds or less was an “arbitrary” number and only limits the rights of gun owners, Rivera believes. Restricting the size of ammunition clips won’t stop mass shootings, he said.
“Somebody can drop a magazine (and reload) in a split second if they’ve practiced,” he said. And law-abiding gun owners should be able to buy the magazines they want.
And requiring gun-buyers to pay for their own background checks is just another unwanted tax to Rivera.
“It’s all right to have weapons. It’s guaranteed in the Constitution,” he said. “The cities with the strictest gun control also have the highest crime rates.”
Asked whether the Legislature can do anything to prevent future massacres such as the Aurora movie theater shooting, Rivera said gun restrictions aren’t the answer.
“We need to hold these people accountable for what they do. Use the death penalty,” he said. “People who are intent on doing mayhem are going to find a way to do it. That’s the bottom line.”
Rivera said Aurora and other mass shootings are tragic events, but amount to a small number of deaths when compared to the millions of gun owners who use their weapons responsibly every day.
Rivera criticized Giron for other votes as well as those on gun control. He said that Senate Bill 252 requiring electric cooperatives to increase their use of renewable fuels to 20 percent of capacity will drive up electric prices for customers of San Isabel Electric. He disputes that rate increases will not exceed an extra 2 percent because of renewables, which Giron insists is he case.
He also opposes the federal wind power credit that Congress extended to help wind-power producers such as Vestas. That 21-year-old credit should expire, he said.
“Renewables, I don’t believe, are technologically where they make economic sense,” he said, adding that coal and nuclear power are more dependable. “Sometimes you have the wind and sometimes you don’t.”
As a Republican senator, Rivera would be in the minority next year and largely excluded from drafting the state budget, which is done by majority Democrats. Giron used her position in the majority to bring millions of dollars in capital construction projects to Southern Colorado this year.
“Just because I wouldn’t be in the budget discussions (this year) doesn’t mean I won’t be in the future,” he countered, perhaps looking toward a future GOP majority in the Senate.
Rivera faults Giron for being a sponsor for House Bill 1130, which allows water transfers on the authority of the state engineer, not a water court. Giron did withdraw her support for the bill and voted against it, but Rivera said she shouldn’t have endorsed it at all.
“It turns our existing water law on its head,” he said.
Rivera claims Democrats raised a phony issue this summer in protesting the estimated $186,000 cost of the recall election. He called that a small price for protecting the right to recall elected officials if necessary.
“(Lawmakers) work for the public. If they don’t do their job right, they should be fired,” he said.