The 51st State, Courtesy of Colorado’s Gun-Control Measures?

by Lindsey Grudnicki

Eight counties in northeastern Colorado are contemplating forming their own state in the wake of unpopular legislation on energy, agriculture, and gun control.

At a conference last week, county commissioners from Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma, and Kit Carson Counties floated the idea of seceding from Colorado and proposed putting the issue to a vote in November.

Commissioners cited a “collective mass” of recent legislation that has isolated rural areas of the state, including gun-control measures and economic regulation that’s put the northern counties at a disadvantage, according to a local newspaper.

“We really feel in northern and northeastern Colorado that we are ignored – citizens’ concerns are ignored, and we truly feel disenfranchised,” said Sean Conway, the Weld County commissioner. Local leaders assert that the state government has failed to address the region’s underfunded infrastructure and school systems, while the Democratic-controlled legislature has pushed new changes in renewable-energy standards and agricultural regulations that have hurt certain sectors of the economy.

The energy and agriculture bills, combined with recent controversial gun-control laws, have sparked enough tension to make the proposition of a new state a topic of serious discussion among commissioners. CBS Denver reported that even southwest portions of Nebraska are considering joining the discontented counties.

There have been five successful separations of territory through the constitutional process since the Founding, creating the states of Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maine, and West Virginia. All efforts since 1863 have proved unsuccessful.

“North Colorado,” should it materialize as the 51st state, would be least populous state and the 42nd largest by area, according to the Greeley Tribune.