Hickenlooper: Dem Gun Control Bills Won’t Hurt Re-Election Chances

March 5, 2013

Hickenlooper said Monday that he isn’t worried that signing a slew of Democratic gun-control bills will hurt his reelection chances

DENVER–Gov. John Hickenlooper said in an interview Monday that he isn’t worried that signing a slew of Democratic gun-control bills will hurt his reelection chances, despite overwhelming opposition from gun-rights advocates at Monday’s hearings.

More than 1,000 protestors swarmed the state capitol Monday in an unsuccessful effort to stop seven Democrat-sponsored gun-control measures.

The honking of horns from passing cars could be heard throughout the marathon committee meetings, while a prop plane flew overhead with a banner that read, “HICK: DO NOT TAKE OUR GUNS.”

“There’s a plane flying around that’s saying, ‘Hick, don’t take our guns.’ Well, here’s the answer: we’re not taking any guns,” said Hickenlooper in an interview with KUSA-TV.

Gun-rights advocates have vowed to target for defeat vulnerable lawmakers who support the package. Groups like Rocky Mountain Gun Owners are already singling out Democrats, packing their town-hall meetings, putting their names in newspaper ads and flooding their offices with emails.

Still, the Democratic governor said most people support gun-control measures as long as they don’t involve firearm registration or confiscation.

“I have talked to many, literally like over a hundred people,” said Hickenlooper. “Almost everyone says, ‘Yeah, as long as there’s no centralized database. As long as you’re not taking weapons away from us, but you’re just making sure that when we sell a weapon it doesn’t go to someone with a violent criminal history or severe mental illness, yeah that makes sense.’”

His remarks came during what was billed as Monday’s “great Colorado gunfight.” Seven Democrat-backed gun-control bills won approval Monday in two Senate committees, each passing by a 3-2 margin on party-line votes, after hours of heated and emotional testimony.

State Sen. Irene Aguilar (D-Denver) chided gun-rights advocates for their “unprofessional behavior” in the packed Senate Judiciary Committee hearing after one witness said he would donate to the campaign of a Democratic senator’s opponent. There were cheers after some speakers testified against the measures, while somebody yelled after a bill passed, “That sucks!”

“I continue to be amazed by the hostility that we are hearing from people who are opposed to this bill,” said Aguilar.

The seven bills are expected to arrive Friday on the Senate floor for debate. Four of the seven have already cleared the House and could land on the governor’s desk in a matter of weeks.

Both sides of the debate brought out high-profile speakers. Speaking out against the bills was a contingent of 20 Colorado sheriffs, while the package’s supporters included survivors of the mass shootings at the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the Safeway in Tucson, Ariz., and Columbine High School in Littleton.

Former astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was injured in the Tucson shooting, testified in favor of the bill requiring universal background checks.

“Dangerous people with weapons specifically designed to kill quickly and efficiently have turned every single corner of our society into places of carnage and gross human loss,” said Kelly. “Gabbie and I are pro-gun ownership. We are anti-gun violence.”

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor called the bill to restrict magazine capacity “unenforceable.” He predicted the bill would result a proliferation of ammunition stands along the Colorado-Wyoming border alongside the fireworks stands.

“The fact is, you can drive to Wyoming and buy all the 30-round magazines you want,” said Taylor, speaking for the County Sheriffs of Colorado. “In our opinion, it doesn’t enhance public safety.”

Both the bills requiring universal background checks and limit magazine capacity won committee approval, as did bills to require gun owners to pay for their background checks, ban concealed-carry on campus, and require domestic-violence offenders to turn in their guns.

Also winning passage was SB 196, sponsored by Senate President John Morse, which would create civil liability for firearms manufacturers, sellers and owners. Critics pointed out during the hearing that the bill conflicts with a 2005 federal law–the Independence Institute’s David Kopel said the bill was sloppily drafted–but Morse argued that the federal statute requires manufacturers to follow state law.

State Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) read a line from the bill saying that a gun seller would be legally liable for a crime committed with a semi-automatic weapon if the seller knows that “assault weapons are sought after by and are useful for criminals, mass killers, and those with criminal intent but are rarely necessary for lawful purposes.”

“I think you’re missing one salient fact, which is those semi-automatic rifles are used for the defense of property, for the defense of family, for the defense of individuals,” said Lundberg. “They do serve a purpose, to deter crime, to deter destruction of people and property. That’s what they’re extremely likely to do.”

State Rep. Steve King (R-Grand Junction) cited a study showing that three people were killed with semi-automatic rifles in Colorado in 2011, while 22 were killed with knives or other “edged weapons.” Another 21 were killed with hammers, bats and pipes.

“Are we looking next year to seeing as liable weapon makers, knife makers?” asked King.

Morse argued that knives also do “good things,” like “cut steaks.”

“These are efficient killing machines that permit people to kill a lot of people very quickly,” said Morse. “Certainly a knife can cause damage and death, but people also have a better chance of surviving a knife attack.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved HB 1224, the bill to limit magazine capacity to 15 rounds or eight shotgun shells. The committee amended the bill to create exemptions for manufacturers and to allow pump shotguns that can be readily converted to hold more than eight shells.

Officials with several Colorado companies, including Magpul Industries, have said they will leave the state if the magazine-limit bill becomes law, even with the exemption. To bring home the message, Magpul parked a truck in front of the capitol emblazoned with the company’s logo.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

28 Responses to Hickenlooper: Dem Gun Control Bills Won’t Hurt Re-Election Chances

  1. wrongheifer
    March 5, 2013 at 9:47 am

    The Democrats would willingly sacrifice their political careers to press their agenda….Good! We’ll show them the door!

    • Mo
      March 6, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      As a person that grew up on a ranch in Colorado, I can only say I am ashamed of my home state! What happened? You have installed a bunch of liberal democrats that on one hand legalize pot, on the other push gun-control. Isn’t there something wrong with this picture, voters?

      • David
        March 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm

        Well that’s not exactly true. The legalization of weed was amendment 64, which was passed through a popular referendum, over the objections of republicans and democrats in the state house, and the scumbag Govenor, John hickenlooper. Police have a lot of political power here. Gun control is not popular here. It is being directed from DC and NY, over the objections of the local population.

        • John
          April 4, 2013 at 6:04 pm

          They know if they put it to a vote it would never get passed because it lacks popular support despite what the rigged polls say. They would rather force it upon the people instead of letting the people decide which reeks of left wing authoritarianism.

  2. March 5, 2013 at 10:35 am

    I attended the Senate Judiciary hearings yesterday and I was the last to speak on Sen. Morse’s proposed bill SB 13-196. 3 minutes was not enough. I listened to all the testimony on the previous 2 bills on Domestic Violence and Magazine limitations. Common Sense was not allowed to be heard in this session. Senators King and Lundberg and the responsible Gun Owners of Colorado were pitted against a stacked deck. There is a definate agenda being presented here. An agenda to weaken our State. An agenda to weaken the people of Colorado. I believe the time is drawing near when ENOUGH will be ENOUGH!!!!! Professional testimony was given by both proponents and opponents. And the ending consensus is that nothing being presented (the 7 Bills) will do anything to lessen the violence they are attempting to lessen. When will they realize that the Responsible and Law Abiding gun owners of our state are not to blame here. That the items they are attempting to limit, curb or outright ban are inanimate objects as are knives, hammers, pipes etc. Inanimate object are not killing people or commiting mass murders. Yet Responsible Gun Owners are being targeted and left holding the bag. It may be time for a Re-Call… Or at least, do not re-elect these represenatives.

  3. R.E. Hafner
    March 5, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    Hickenlooper should not be too sure of himself. It will be impossible to enforce these Democrat measures that do nothing to stop criminal activity. People are tired of do nothing legislation and are on the verge of trashing legislatures who support such measures. These are nothing but nuisance bills that harass citizens while accomplishing nothing. We will see what song Hickenlooper and his Democrat buffoons sing after 2014.

  4. Tony
    March 5, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    It won’t hurt his chances…this goes through…the recall begins…

    • Scott Watkins
      March 5, 2013 at 8:35 pm

      hear hear let me know how to help,,,i already have 20 voluntiers

      • C Lee
        March 7, 2013 at 10:29 am

        me too. This is going too far.

    • Debbie
      March 8, 2013 at 3:10 pm

      Colorado Accountability has one recall petition filed and organizing for more recalls on the politicians supporting the anti-gun measures if you want to join them in their effort. http://www.facebook.com/#!/ColoradoAccountability?fref=ts

  5. Citizen of Denver
    March 5, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Common Sense for Reducing Violent Crime?

    Common sense is defined by Merriam-Webster as, “sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts.”

    Recently the Illinois Sheriffs Association published an official statement expressing their collective view about the root cause of gun violence and their ideas about how to curtail it. Interestingly, these official views of the sheriffs in Illinois coincide closely to the recently expressed official views of the Colorado Sheriffs Association.

    Both organizations hold that the epidemic of mental health issues in our nation is the root cause of much violence of all kinds and urged that steps be taken to increase resources in all areas of mental health management from identification to treatment. Both organizations’ statements pointed out the fact that the penal system is a major part of the current de facto model for managing mental health and that it is an inappropriate choice of venue for that purpose because it is not equipped to do so.

    The statement by the Illinois Sheriffs Association, along with the similar statement by the County Sheriffs of Colorado, when contrasted with the recent so called common sense gun control bills now being quickly passed through the Colorado State Legislature, suggest that politicians do not agree with sheriffs across the US. It would seem to me to be common sense that politicians, being generally distant from the “people on the street”, would have less understanding of the reality of the everyday challenges of managing illegal gun violence and the causes of it while sheriffs, being generally closer to the “people on the street” would have a much better grasp of the current reality. Common sense, then, dictates that sheriffs are in a better position to recommend action than the politicians and that politicians should, therefore, listen to, and act on, the advice of sheriffs.

    It is my opinion from previous observations that the primary goal of politicians is reelection. Reinforcement theory posits that all people, from preschoolers to adults, repeat behavior patterns that have proven in the past to work to accomplish their goals, often without regard for common sense. For preschoolers this may mean throwing a screaming fit until their parents give in and let them have whatever it is they want at the moment. For politicians, it means passing more laws to serve the needs of the people properly in order to get reelected. In the case of “gun control” the politicians apparently think they will be reelected for passing laws that make legal gun ownership and self defense by law abiding, rational citizens more expensive and harder to accomplish while, basically ignoring our nation’s mental health epidemic. They obviously think this constitutes serving the needs of the people properly. Reinforcement theory suggests that, regardless of common sense, politicians will do whatever (they think) works to get them reelected, until they are no longer reelected.

    I urge everyone to decide for themselves if the behavior of the politicians should be rewarded and then please vote accordingly. Thank you for your time.


    Merriam Webster – common sense

    Illinois Sheriffs’ statement

    Colorado Sheriffs’ statement

    Reinforcement Theory

    • Lynne
      March 6, 2013 at 10:36 am

      Excellent points. Our elected officials, especially our Governor, should carefully consider the points you make. Some of these gun-control Democrats have stated that they are “amazed by the hostility that we are hearing from people opposed to this…” Then they will be “amazed” by the passion and commitment of those of us who believe these bills to be ill-conceived and ineffective responses to gun violence when they come up for re-election and are soundly defeated. They will be “amazed” when their re-election bids are met with fierce opposition from those who are offended by their demonization of law-abiding citizens who support gun ownership. They will be “amazed” when the funds provided to them by the Obama machine for their re-elections are significantly out-matched by those who are committed to preserving our 2nd amendment rights. They were warned by Clinton to not underestimate the passion of gun-rights supporters. They apparently aren’t listening.

  6. Joe
    March 5, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Won’t hurt his chances… Really? Perhaps the legislature feels there is safety in numbers and we won’t vote them all out next election. They might want to start looking for other work now…

  7. chris
    March 5, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    As someone who voted for him last time, this will hurt his chances. Bad. All across the nation, people are starting to realize that the gun owners of America are not going to stand idly by. We are by nature a silent bunch, but when the second amendment is in jeopardy, we make our voices heard. Good luck next election hickenlooper. Can’t wait to see who you will be running against. Don’t Tread On Me

  8. LibertyFirst
    March 6, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Next election? Why would we wait for that? These low-life liberty hatng maggots need to be recalled now. The traitorous scum in the state legislature have violated the US and CO constitutions and their oaths to defend the same. REACLL THESE TREASONOUS PUNKS NOW!!!! Lickenpooper and the rest of these pinko parasites need to be removed from office immediately. They have shown their true colors and have flipped the finger to their employers = US – WE THE PEOPLE! Who else would do the same to their employer and expect to keep their job? What part of “shall not be infringed” do these disingenous criminals fail to understand? Well, they do understand it – very well. This is not about protecting the law abiding people of CO – its about violating our God-given, Constitionally guaranteed rights. Of course they have an agenda, and it isn’t to protect or serve the people.

  9. dywlff
    March 7, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Hickenlooper is not a smart man. Perhaps he’s starry eyed with visions of lord bloomey campaign contributions for his presidential run? He’s clearly not concerned with what the people of Colorado want because he doesn’t have a clue what they want. Let’s get rid of this silly politician in 2014 if not sooner.

  10. ken
    March 16, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    Google Gabrielle Giffords loves her AR-15 if you want to see the hoprocrisy of the gun grabbers. as for hickenlooper thinking he will get re-elected if he signs these bills into laws… i think he’s kidding himself

  11. John Hackett
    March 20, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Apparently they do not understand the Constitution, the Bill of Rights or what “Not to be Infringed” means. Anyn unconstitutional ball is going to be ignored. Sheriffs and Police take an Oath to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights is part of that. they are infringing on the peoples rights and its Law Enforcements DUTY to ignore an Unconstitutional Bill and Stand Down. Many of Us took an Oath to protect and Defend the Constitution and looks like we may have to do that. “WE the People” are the homeland security of this nation. The Second Amendment was written for just such an ocassion and we have the ability to enforce the Constitution and the Duty to do so. Everyone that Took the Oath needs to Rally to the Cause. We are Oathkeepers…not Oathbreakers.

  12. April 9, 2013 at 7:59 am

    any politician that votes for gun control, I will not vote for,it was voted on when our for fathers wrote it,these senators and congressman are sworn to up hold the constitution not tear it apart and just remember Obama doesn’t need a job when his term is done,senators and congressman do

  13. Hickenlooper Must Go
    June 6, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    Hickenlooper Must Go. For the good of Colorado and the good of the region and the nation. See Hickenlooper Must Go on Facebook.


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