To the Editor:

A student’s sign at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School rally said “Vote NRA Out of Congress”.  These teenagers are astutely correct that the NRA controls our lawmakers. We are a representative democracy but the majority of state/federal legislators disproportionately serve the NRA (whose membership is less than 2% of our population) over the demands and welfare of the majority of citizens.  

The NRA began in 1871 as an organization to teach marksmanship and firearms safety.  In 1977 the extreme gun-rights faction took over the organization with the new mission of stopping all gun laws and regulations.  Wayne LaPierre is the 40-year leader and voice of this mission. He targets the fringe element –militias, survivalists, paranoid weapons stockpilers and anti-government conspirators – with outrageous alarmist messages to sell more guns and generate more anti-gun-control fanatics.  The NRA also unscrupulously intimidates lawmakers, businesses and gun manufacturers and dealers. You tow the NRA line or lose your job or business.

The NRA’s formidable lobbying machine defeated attempts to register and license guns after President Kennedy’s assassination; gutted the 1968 Gun Control Act; pushed through the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act that created the gun show/internet no background check loophole; defeated efforts after 9/11 to prevent individuals on terrorist-watch-lists from legally buying weapons; prevents the government from collecting and analyzing crucial information about guns and gun violence; weakened the enforcement authority of the ATF with underfunding, under-manning and the Tiahrt amendment; pushed through the 2005 Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act which shields gun makers, dealers, distributors and importers from civil lawsuits from criminal use of their products; and defeated the renewal of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.  So, I blame LaPierre/NRA for U.S. gun violence.

Definitive interpretations of the Constitution are the domain of the U.S. Supreme Court, not the NRA.  Justice Scalia (extreme conservative) wrote in the 2008 majority court decision in the second amendment case District of Columbia v. Heller that “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.”   Also the courts have routinely explained “that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.”…. “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt…on laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

End the tyranny of the NRA.  Vote out lawmakers who kowtow to it.

Melinda McWilliams,

Fraser, CO

Colorado Conservation Easements Threatened

Letter to the Editor.

Colorado legislators are scheduled to vote on three separate bills impacting Colorado’s successful conservation easement program. Together, the three bills would cripple Colorado’s current conservation easement program. A hearing for Colorado House Bills 1122, 1123, and 1194 is scheduled for  Thursday, March 15, in the House Health, Insurance and Environment (HIE) Committee.

Local conservation groups, including the Colorado Headwaters Land Trust and Trout Unlimited, oppose all three new bills and see them as harmful to the conservation easement program and the environment.

The primary sponsors of the three bills are one state representative, Kimmi Lewis, and two state senators, Jerry Sonnenberg and Vicki Marble. All three are known for their anti-environmental leanings.

An email from YOU to members of the HIE committee expressing opposition to the bills may help stop them.

House Bill 1122 would add unnecessary and duplicate accounting requirements to the conservation easement tax credit program.

House Bill 1123 would suspend the conservation easement tax program for 20 years and cost landowners working on easements tens of thousands of dollars in sunk cost.

House Bill 1194 would restrict the length of conservation easements, destroying the conservation purpose of the program.

Jerry Nissen
Fraser, Colorado


To the Editor:

At its August 2017 meeting The Colorado Press Association board of directors unanimously approved a motion to adopt the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics as CPA’s ethical code. The code of ethics is not binding on anyone. To restrict or control journalists right to free speech would be a violation of the first amendment.

The CPA explained “The Code of Ethics is not a set of rules, but rather a guide that encourages all who engage in journalism to take responsibility for the information they provide”. Journalists are encouraged to:

Be accountable and transparent: Ethical journalism means taking responsibility for one’s work and explaining one’s decisions to the public.

Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable. Give voice to the voiceless.

Recognize a special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government. Seek to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open, and that public records are open to all.

Realize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than public figures and others who seek power, influence or attention. Weigh the consequences of publishing or broadcasting personal information

Explain ethical choices and processes to audiences. Encourage a civil dialogue with the public about journalistic practices, coverage and news content.

Acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently. Explain corrections and clarifications carefully and clearly.

Expose unethical conduct in journalism, including within their organizations.

I request a clear and concise statement from you as to whether you feel it necessary to update your newspaper’s policies to bring them in line line with the CPA’s code of ethics


Peter Ralph