Hick’s Decision to Sign Gun Control Bills Fuels Heated Backlash

March 21, 2013

Hickenlooper said he believed most Coloradans would agree that the legislation’s pros outstripped the cons

DENVER–As expected, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed three gun-control bills into law Wednesday, and as expected, the fallout was immediate.

Within hours, gun-rights advocates had launched a three-prong attack on the Democratic legislature’s gun-control package, vowing to battle the measures on the legal, economic and political fronts.

Independence Institute president Jon Caldara announced Wednesday that the free-market think-tank would head up a legal challenge against the bills.

Meanwhile, Magpul Industries confirmed in a Facebook post that the company would make good on its promise to leave Colorado if the bill to limit magazine capacity were signed.

“Our transition to a new home will occur in a phased and orderly a manner to allow us to continue to serve our customers during the move, as well as to allow an orderly transition for affected employees,” said the Wednesday post. “We are actively working on those plans.”

On the political front, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners kicked off a petition drive to repeal the newly signed measures. Another group, SaveOurShotguns.org, has already begun gathering signatures to repeal House Bill 1224, the magazine-capacity bill.

Gun-rights groups have also targeted for defeat Democrats from rural or swing districts who voted in favor of all or some of the gun-control bills. Among those expected to face difficult reelection fights in 2014 are state Sens. Michael McLachlan (D-Durango), Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) and Jeanne Nicholson (D-Gilpin County).

“We have said for years that Colorado is the national test case to turn a freedom-loving western state into a progressive stronghold,” said Caldara in an email. “Today Colorado citizens learned the hard way that elections have consequences. Today our governor cemented our path to become California.

But I guarantee you, this fight has just begun.”

He said the lawsuit would be filed on behalf of a coalition that includes “local and national law enforcement, including many of the sheriffs who opposed the bills, disability-rights organizations, gun-safety organizations, civil-rights organizations, and others.”

Caldara said the lead attorney on the case would be David Kopel, the institute’s policy director and a nationally recognized expert on the Second Amendment. Kopel has described the magazine bill as a “grotesque overreach.”

The three bills signed by the governor will ban the sale and transfer of ammunition magazines that hold or can be readily converted to more than 15 rounds; mandate universal background checks for gun sales and transfers, and require gun buyers to pay for their background checks.

Critics argue that the magazine bill is drafted so carelessly that as it stands, the measure would make it a crime to hand almost any ammunition clip to another person unless that person underwent a background check first.

At least two county sheriffs have said the measure is unenforceable. At a press conference Wednesday following the signing ceremony, Hickenlooper appeared to acknowledge concerns about the bills by saying he would issue a “signing statement” on the advice of the Attorney General’s office explaining what they do and don’t do.

“There’s always a way to misconstrue the actual words. What we want to do is just provide a little clarity,” said Hickenlooper. “I don’t think our signing statement is going to satisfy everybody, but it should certainly lay out to a lot of people that, ‘This is our intent. This is what we’re trying to get done.’”

The governor defended the decision to sign the magazine-limit bill even after Magpul announced it would relocate if the bill became law. The Erie-based company employs 200 people directly and supports another 400 supply-chain jobs.

“Those are 200 people who go to work every day, and if Magpul decides they do indeed have to leave, that’s a hardship, that’s difficult,” said Hickenlooper. “In any difficult piece of legislation, there’s pluses and minuses.”

Despite the backlash, the governor said he believed most Coloradans would agree that the legislation’s pros outstripped the cons.

“There’s costs and benefits,” said Hickenlooper. “We wanted to make sure the benefits outweighed the costs. I think they clearly do.”

Others disagree. Michael Bane, executive producer of the Outdoor Channel, had also vowed to relocate production of four television programs from Colorado to other states if the bills were signed.

“So Governor Hickenlooper signed all the gun laws on his desk, citing ‘widespread support.’ Right,” said Bane in a Wednesday post. “This whole process has been a quilt of lies. Obviously, we look toward both the legal challenges in the courts and the elections in 2014.”

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

18 Responses to Hick’s Decision to Sign Gun Control Bills Fuels Heated Backlash

  1. frank gross
    March 21, 2013 at 8:46 am

    “Despite the backlash, the governor said he believed most Coloradans would agree that the legislation’s pros outstripped the cons.”

    oh really, then put it on the ballot, or is marijuana more important than the 2nd amendment??

    • michael schmidlen
      March 21, 2013 at 11:13 am

      NOT gonna happen, because the nanny state legislature knows best! Adios Hick in 2014!

    • Elliot Chase
      April 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      All of you gun nuts are Fascists, damned Fascists!

  2. March 21, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Exactly Frank. I was allowed to speak at the hearings on March 4th and in my 3 minutes i asked the commitee to put it to the people for a vote. The Bill sponsors, Mary Hodge and Rhonda Fields, along with their gaggle of democrat supporters feel that our state is out of control and they are the ones to guide us to Paradise. As they said above, The Fight Has Just Begun!!!!!!

  3. Art Vogt
    March 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    The day I need a person with Rhonda Fields, at best, questionable character telling me right from wrong is the day you can tuck me in with a shovel.

  4. rlloyd
    March 22, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Rhonda Fields, Hickenlooper and all the rest of the infidels need to be voted out at election time. They are hand-jamming as many politically-correct bills as they can, because they have the votes. Emotions rule over logic, and Hickenlooper aspires to bigger things.

  5. Mark
    March 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    At the heart of every liberal Democrat is a coward. Their entire gun control argument is based on emotion – fear. Gun control is not about guns, it is about control of people in an attempt to control their own fear. Fear is exactly what brought Hitler to power in 1932. Which leads a thinking mind to conclude Democrats are Fascists.

    “I would rather live in dangerous liberty than safe slavery.”

  6. BWP
    April 1, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Democrats are working as hard as they can to Califorinicate Colorado…and they’re do a damn fine job of destroying what was once a great state–now it’s not even in the top 15 for liberty within our country (#19 after being #7 in 2009).

  7. Mike
    April 1, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    The more fear you guys have the stronger the NRA is. they want you to be afraid. The gun industry is making billions on your fear.

    Real Men don’t need Guns!

    • Mike McChesney
      April 4, 2013 at 2:50 pm

      Wow, are you really that ignorant, or just too young to have gotten out of kindergarten yet? Check out the stats wherever gun control has a strong presence. Maybe then you will understand, but your closed little mind will probably just stand pat, and you will continue to make idiotic statements that have no basis in fact. Another fool ready to give government control over his life. Pathetic.

    • Steve
      May 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Oh, yeah, right because “real men”, in your world, are apparently braindead morons who ignore 4 centuries of advancement in weapons to their own peril. I guess there are no “real me” in the military or on any police force eh? Try to think next time before you post.

  8. rehafner
    April 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Mike, it’s obvious you know nothing of the NRA. The NRA consist of nearly 5 million members, those members control the NRA, the NRA does not control the members. The NRA is not like Colorado which is run by ignoramuses and out of state bureaucrats.

  9. gabriel
    April 4, 2013 at 10:15 am

    I thought politicians swore an oath to uphold the constituition and bill of right while in office to the best of their abilities.Eroding away by making laws against the 2nd amendment. Unfortuantely they bring into office their own personal agenda instead of doing what is right to protect our liberties and freedoms that were written in the constitution. With out those there is no America.

  10. mike
    April 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm


  11. Richard
    April 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I am a Colorado native, and I strongly disagree with the cowardly Governor. Remember, a pistol keeps a robber at bay, but a rifle keeps a tyrant at bay.

  12. ME
    April 4, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    Thanks Gov! – for doing the responsible thing to protect the citizens of Colorado from themselves.

    • Steve
      May 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm

      Spoken like a true pathetic nanny statist. Why don’t you move to NYC that way you can be told what kind of drinks you can buy as well?

  13. Spike
    June 28, 2013 at 3:26 am

    If you want to see what good gun control does just look at Chicago and mexico


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