Our View: Hickenlooper’s Gun Reversal

April 4, 2013

Months after conceding that a bevy of new rules wouldn’t have prevented the Aurora tragedy, the governor signed several controversial gun control bills into law

In the immediate aftermath of the Aurora theater massacre, Governor John Hickenlooper earned the praise of many — including us — for his cool-headed and common-sensical response to the carnage.

When he was asked to comment about whether more aggressive gun control laws might have prevented the tragedy, Hick resisted the opportunity to politicize the moment, and stated the obvious.

“I don’t think stricter laws would have made a difference,” Hickenlooper said at the time “He would have found a way to wreak havoc.”

Indeed, Hickenlooper’s sentiments in the wake of the killings weren’t terribly different from those expressed by National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre in the wake of the Newtown shootings.

“Legislation works on the sane. Legislation works on the law abiding,” LaPierre told NBC’s David Gregory in response to a question about proposed limits on magazine capacity and a ban on some semi-automatic firearms.

Yet just months after Hickenlooper conceded that a bevy of new restrictions wouldn’t have prevented the Aurora tragedy, the governor signed several controversial gun measures into law – including one that could result in an outright ban on many common firearms, and convert many law abiding citizens into criminals overnight.

So what happened to change Hickenlooper’s mind between last summer and now?

We don’t know exactly how to explain Mr. Hickenlooper’s about-face on the gun issue, but we think that Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith may have touched on the reason for Mr. Hickenlooper’s rapid conversion during comments  he made during a press conference on Wednesday.

“President [Obama], New York billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg and the leaders in [the Democratic] party now are throwing their political clout behind continued efforts to impose more and more gun control laws on Colorado,” said Smith.

“The answer lies in agenda driven politics,” Smith said later on during the event.  “Gun control advocates were keenly aware that they had a short window of opportunity to exploit the emotions surrounding the tragedies in Newtown and Aurora…The president and Mayor Bloomberg are desperate.”

Watching President Obama’s whistle-stop in Colorado on Wednesday (which cost taxpayers $1 million), it’s difficult to argue with Smith’s take.  Support for stricter gun control laws is slipping.  Even on the question of universal background checks, the most popular among the proposals, a majority of Americans (51 percent) now believe that expanding such checks will either have no effect or actually increase violent crime, according to one recent public opinion survey.

During his speech, flanked by Denver police officers (despite concerns that many cops were coerced into participating in what was essentially a campaign rally), Obama pointed to the gun-grabbing measures enacted by Hickenlooper as an example to be emulated nationally.

The whole scene seemed a bit surreal, seeing that Hickenlooper waited as long as humanly possible to offer a full throated endorsement of Obama last election cycle. While he was once a “cautious, moderate” kind of governor politically, suddenly Hickenlooper has put himself at the forefront of a controversial and very liberal push for feel-good gun control policies.

We believe that President Obama’s visit to Colorado to stump for Chicago-style gun controls (which haven’t even worked in Chicago) presented a fitting backdrop for the final stage in what has been a remarkable political transformation for John Hickenlooper.  It’s an evolution which has seen the folksy, middle-of-the-road, independent-minded geologist that Colorado voters elected in 2010 become just another big-city, progressive Democrat pursuing an ideological left-wing social agenda.  Sort of our own Mile High version of Rahm Emanuel.

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

7 Responses to Our View: Hickenlooper’s Gun Reversal

  1. AJ
    April 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Anyone who fell for the “folksy, middle-of-the-road, independent” schtick hadn’t been paying very close attention to how Hick ran Denver…sorry, Observer, but it sounds like you got suckered in like the rest of non-Denver Colorado back in 2010. As for me, I always recognized and new Hick for the “big-city progressive Democrat” that he always was…

  2. rlloyd
    April 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    This Govenor seriously needs to be voted out and someone voted in to reflect the values and traditions of Colorado, this is a gun-state.

    He was bought by Bloomberg and Obama with future funds and more than likely a future position (Cabinet or other) that would give him more visibility in the Democrat Realm.

    He has been playing the voters of Colorado like a violin, and he was doing it as mayor by making Denver a “sanctuary” city for illegal immigrants as well, always avoiding talking vaguely about it.

    • April 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

      “Friends don’t let friends vote Democrat (or bogus Republican)”

      Do you honestly think Tancredo would have signed any of those pieces of excrement bills? Elections have consequences for the people, but are decided by the people with money, not by the facts. The facts don’t have a chance of being heard amid the expensive noise. Word-of-mouth is our only hope. We’d better get busy, or God knows where we’ll end up after the NEXT election.

    • April 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

      Don’t forget that “under the radar” he is a supporter of the “sustainability” movement, and would sell us out to the U.N.’s Agenda 21 campaign if he thought he could get away with it.

  3. JO
    April 6, 2013 at 11:10 am

    Sounds more like John Flippenfloper.

  4. Dave G
    April 6, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Governor Gun Control II (Hickenlooper) decided to follow his immediate predecessor, Governor Gun Control I, into being a one term governor and political oblivion. Out side of Denver and Boulder, he will not be missed.

  5. April 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    “I don’t think stricter laws would have made a difference,” Hickenlooper said at the time “He would have found a way to wreak havoc.”

    The Boston Marathon bombing has proven the accuracy of that comment. The flight of fancy of the recent gun-control mania of our lawmakers, supported wholeheartedly by the Governor, is a symptom of the globalist agenda they’re infected with. They take their marching orders from a bi-partisan crowd in Washington, who have the same disease. They desperately wants us to ratify the U.N. Small Arms Control Treaty. Read it some time. It calls for the confiscation of all civilian firearms. All. Only the police and military would be allwoed to be armed. They would totally disarm us. And these are the people we want to run our government? Our future freedom hangs by the thread that prevents them from having a two-thirds majority in the U.S. Senate.


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