Sen. Mike Merrifield

Sen. Mike Merrifield

UPDATE: Sen. John Cooke responded to request for comment on the delay claims.

“I can’t speak for the rest of the counties or the state but I checked with the Weld County Sheriff who told me that it is taking two-three days to get back the background checks from CBI. He confirmed that with me no less than four times.”

As proof that Democrats will try anything to grow the size of government, yesterday State Senate Democrats laughably claimed to carry the banner of gun rights, in a maneuver was actually nothing more than a scheme to add headcount to the beleaguered Colorado Bureau of Investigation background check department.

This Trojan horse, brought to the Capitol dome by none other than former Bloomberg employee Michael Merrifield, was a proposed amendment to a Department of Public Safety appropriation that would have dumped an additional $369,323 into the CBI coffers.  The claim was that the CBI was so, so backlogged.

Of course, a massive CBI backlog was triggered by Democrat legislation passed in 2013 that vastly expanded the circumstances that would require a firearms-related background check.  The antiquated processes and systems at CBI are not helping matters either.  Today, the wait time for a CCW background check is approximately 54 days.  And Democrats are threatening that this could grow longer if more money is not aimed at the machine.

Republican State Senator Kevin Grantham was quick to offer resistance to Merrifield’s farce:  “Senate Democrats once again showed their lack of understanding for gun ownership and the Second Amendment today. CBI is riddled with problems and Democrats have never found a bureaucrat they don’t want to hire. Unfortunately for the Democrats, they are two years and two recalls too late to this issue.”

But how about improving processes before hiring more people and dumping more money into this CBI bureaucracy?  Does the CBI even need a state level background check – why not do what most other states do and use the widely adopted and highly-efficient NICS system?  You can get your background check results in a few minutes this way.

The bottom line is that the CBI background check system, which facilitates the transfer of firearms, issuance of CCW licenses and licenses for approximately 60 professional designations, has for a long time underperformed and is in need of improvement.  Republicans in the Colorado Senate seem to be in no hurry to throw more money and full time employees at this problem before the CBI demonstrates improvements on their own.