News & Politics

Conservatives Pissed About Legal Pot and Gun Laws in Colorado Push Secession

Residents in republican counties hope to form a 51st state of ‘North Colorado’ in a fight against liberalism.

In November, 11 counties in Colorado will vote on whether to secede and form their own state in which they hope to promote conservative ideals that residents say have been lost, reported the New York Times.

Entitled the 51st State Initiative, the new state would be called New Colorado or North Colorado and would reject the notion of liberalism and all progressive changes that have remodeled politics in the state, including gun control laws, immigration, legalizing marijuana and efforts to legalize gay marriage.

The move sprung up in the aftermath of the mass shootings at an Aurora movie theatre in 2012 which prompted the Democrat-controlled legislature to pass a number of rulings including the state’s first new gun control laws which require background checks on private gun sales.  This stirred major opposition from Republicans and rural conservatives and led to a successful recall campaign by gun advocates to unseat two Democrats who supported firearms laws.

However, not all are in favor of such radical changes; many residents see it as a ploy to raise capital or as a “bad joke”:

"It's just going to be seen as a crackpot idea by a bunch of crackpot commissioners some of whom are term limited…Some will just call it Crackpottopia,”  Steve Mazurana, former political science professor at the University of Northern Colorado told Denver Post this summer.

Moreover, any move to create another state would face tough resistance particularly in light of the fact that even if the counties were to vote in favor, the decision ultimately rests with Congress – which last voted in support of state succession during the Civil War in 1863 with the breakaway of West Virginia.

Democrats contend that the views of such conservatives do not reflect those of most Coloradans and that the secession attempt is merely a publicity stunt. 

Jodie Gummow is a senior fellow and staff writer at AlterNet.