When Democrats in the state legislature unveiled plans to consider an assault weapon ban, Rep. Bob Marshall, a Democrat representing Highlands Ranch, declared he does not plan to vote for any bills to enact stricter gun laws.
Rep. Marshall barely won his race in Highlands Ranch; once all ballots were counted, a mere 405 votes out of 45,349 cast separated Marshall from his opponent. That victory belongs to all the volunteers energized by his campaign. Every effort truly made the difference. Those same volunteers are highly motivated by reducing gun violence. If Bob Marshall has declared he will dismiss all stricter gun safety laws without consideration, then those volunteers will not make the mistake of supporting him twice.
If you were to draw a map of members of gun violence reduction groups in Colorado, a disproportionate number of them are in Rep. Marshall's district. It is no surprise because it contains the location of the STEM Highlands Ranch shooting and the apartment complex where Deputy Zack Parrish was murdered; along with its proximity to Columbine High School and the Aurora theater shooting. These are only the most notable, nearby examples of a gun violence pandemic plaguing the entire country year after year.
It is reprehensible that Marshall is taking an obstructionist stance on preventing gun violence in a district that has suffered from it more than most. It is a strategy that will easily plummet Rep. Marshall below the threshold needed for reelection while winning him no new support. The few voters who might appreciate his impotent stance on gun safety are unlikely to join a Democrat's reelection campaign on that basis.
Faced with the loss of his base, and voting like a Republican, a calculating politician might hope to change parties for the next election. Rep. Marshall does not have that option given that he has repeatedly sued local GOP officials and literally punched the new chair of the Douglas County Republican Party in the face during an altercation at a protest. Marshall prevailed in the ensuing legal fight over that altercation, but the Douglas County GOP is an unlikely place for Marshall to develop new allies.
Marshall faces an unwinnable dilemma as he has betrayed the left and is reviled on the right. Politics is a team sport and Bob Marshall appears intent on fouling everyone on the field.
Barrett Rothe, vice chair of Douglas County Democratic Party June 2021-February 2023 Castle Pines