DENVER – In the wake of the tragic shooting at Arapahoe High School, left-leaning MSNBC interviewed ex-state Senate President John Morse, who made the eyebrow raising allegation that Weld County Sheriff John Cooke’s opposition to gun control is “making a mockery” of children killed and injured in gun violence.
Though Morse’s accusations may ring hollow, the Democrat, who was recalled by Colorado Springs voters in September, attempted a character assassination on Cooke, who is term limited as sheriff but seeking election to the state Senate in 2014.
The interview on Sunday piggybacked on a New York Times story criticizing Cooke for testifying against a controversial set of Democrats-sponsored gun-control bills earlier this year. Like other Colorado sheriffs, Cooke vowed to uphold 2nd Amendment rights and opposed the package.
“In my oath,” Sheriff Cooke told the New York Times, “It says I’ll uphold the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the state of Colorado. It doesn’t say I have to uphold every law passed by the legislature.”
It was rather ironic that Morse, who voters recalled for after ramming through extreme gun-control measures and blocking public testimony on the measures, accused Cooke and other county sheriffs of playing politics this week.
“The sheriffs clearly are elected officials and politicians,” said Morse. “And (Cooke) is playing to his base. I get that.”
“Obviously, I’m mortified by folks that are elected directly to concern themselves with public safety, like sheriffs, are making a mockery of children dying at the hands of gunmen,” added Morse.
“That is absurd!” Cooke said referring to Morse’s comment. “No one takes John Morse seriously because of statements like that.”
Morse’s wild assertions also contradict Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper’s assessment of state’s gun-control laws and the tragedy of a student who killing himself after critically wounding another student at Arapahoe High School last week in Littleton.
In fact, Hickenlooper said that none of the gun-control laws passed by the Democrat lawmakers would have prevented the tragic shooting last week at Arapahoe High School.
Neither Morse nor Hickenlooper mentioned that Republican legislators attempted to pass legislation to encourage school districts to hire armed security guards or allow qualified teachers to conceal carry – and essentially stop advertising public schools as gun-free zones. The measure was killed by Democrat lawmakers.
“Generally (county sheriffs) are Republican kinds folks,” said Morse, who noted that Cooke is running for the Senate District 13 seat held by Sen. Scott Renfroe (R-Greeley) who is term limited in 2014.
“Sheriff Cooke is very Republican and very anti-gun safety,” asserted Morse.
“Morse is the one politicizing these tragedies for his own agenda,” said Cooke.
On Tuesday, the Weld County Sheriffs office reported that two students in Mead were expelled after bringing a gun and ammunition to school.
Morse claimed that Cooke would repeal the gun-purchase background checks that were expanded to include gun show purchases in 2000, a ballot initiative approved by Colorado voters after the horrific shootings at Columbine High School by two students. Cooke did oppose that ballot initiative.
“He’s on the stump,” said Morse of Cooke.
Morse did not mention critical mental health legislation that was promised by Democrat lawmakers after the summer 2012 Aurora theater shootings. The legislation, which some speculated would upgrade requirements to report individuals who pose a threat to themselves or others, never materialized.
No Democrat explained why that bill fell through the cracks.
Cooke, who won re-election in 2010 with more than 70 percent of the vote in Weld County, has raised nearly $21,500 for his Republican state Senate bid. His Democrat opponent Joe Perez has garnered just over $1,000.