Firearms are central to the brand of U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert. Prior to being elected in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District last November, she was best known as the owner of Shooters Grill, an eatery in Rifle where the waitstaff packs heat, and she subsequently gained greater fame — and plenty of Fox News face time — after confronting former presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke about gats during a 2019 campaign appearance.
Her responses to President Joe Biden's just-issued executive orders about guns, including one that specifically addresses the weapon used in the March 22 attack on a Boulder King Soopers in which ten people were killed, have been equally direct. One April 8 tweet reads: "The Second Amendment is absolute. Anyone who says otherwise is a tyrant."
Boebert has not issued a formal statement about the Biden orders, and her gun-related tweets over recent days have avoided specific mention of the Boulder shooting, which had already led to some awkward moments. Two hours after the gunman opened fire on the March 22, Boebert's staff stirred controversy by sending out a fundraising email with the subject line "I told Beto ‘HELL NO’ to taking our guns. Now we need to tell Joe Biden." She also tweeted an attack on Biden over his immigration policies before addressing the violence in her home state, subsequently sending out this reaction: "My prayers are with the shoppers, employees, first responders & others affected by the shooting in Boulder. May God be with them. While we are still awaiting important information and details in this case, random public shootings & senseless acts of violence are never ok."
In the meantime, Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado's 2nd Congressional District has been among those leading the call for Biden to take executive action on guns following the Boulder massacre. A March 31 letter signed by Neguse and more than 100 other lawmakers specifically called for a ban on the sort of brace that the King Soopers shooter used to make his Ruger AR-556 pistol even more deadly.
"Concealable assault-style firearms that fire rifle rounds pose an unreasonable threat to our communities and should be fully regulated under the National Firearms Act consistent with the intent and history of the law," the letter notes. "The recent tragedy in Boulder, Colorado where ten people including a police officer were killed is one in a string of deadly incidents involving this style of weapon. On February 6, 2019, Milwaukee Officer Matthew Rittner was killed by an AK-47 style concealable weapon while trying to execute a search warrant. Later that year on August 4, 2019, a concealable .223 caliber AR-15 style firearm was used to kill 9 people and injure 27 others in Dayton, Ohio in less than one minute."
Biden was clearly listening. On April 8, he announced six executive orders, including one that the White House describes with this: "The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable."
Neguse participated in Biden's press conference yesterday, and issued a statement afterward: "Last week, we sent a request to the White House asking for swift action to regulate concealable assault-style firearms, and we are grateful this request was included in the actions taken by the President. ... We must do everything we can to stop the epidemic of gun violence and frequent mass shootings that have plagued our nation for far too long."
And Boebert? On the day before Biden issued his orders, she was already loaded for bear, tweeting, "Republican Attorney Generals, get ready to fight the Biden executive orders on gun control all the way! I’ll be doing my part from the House! Let’s ensure we stop this tyrant."
Other Boebert salvos freely mixed in other pet peeves with calls for gun reforms. "Democrats flood illegal immigrants into our communities, support violent rioters, and want to take away our right to defend ourselves," she tweeted. "It’s not about guns. It’s about control."
She followed that up with "'I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery' — Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, January 30, 1787" and "On this day in history, April 8, 2021, Joe Biden stated no amendment to the Constitution is absolute. Just imagine if Trump had said those words on this day."
Boebert is continuing that theme today. After another historical quote — this one from George Mason: "To disarm the people is the most effectual way to enslave them" — she tweeted. "Democrats & their allies seek to enslave and control the people of the United States and every aspect of their lives. Only learn what they approve of, say what they agree to & work when permitted."
Amid all these messages is one that concludes, "Help me save America!" The line appears over a button emblazoned with the phrase "Donate now."