Hickenlooper silent on gun law comments; supporters and foes baffled

janklow Members, Moderators Posts: 8,613 Regulator
Hickenlooper silent on gun law comments; supporters and foes baffled
After several days of fallout over his comments on gun control laws to a recent gathering of county sheriffs, Gov. John Hickenlooper has managed to baffle both victims-rights advocates and Second Amendment supporters.

The governor's conflicting comments on his support for a controversial 2013 law limiting ammunition magazines has added traction to the argument from critics that he's unwilling to take definitive stances in his role as leader of the state.

"By now we are all used to the way the governor thinks out loud," said Tom Sullivan, whose 27-year-old son, Alex, was killed in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. "But what I do know is that as Coloradans we are all too familiar with gun violence, and these laws were written in response to repeated tragedies we have faced in our state."

Sullivan added: "Unlike me, there are fathers across the state who were able to spend last Sunday with their son because of the laws we passed to make Colorado safer."

Hickenlooper, in wide-ranging remarks last week in Aspen at the biannual gathering of the County Sheriffs of Colorado, said that of the small handful of gun laws passed in 2013, he felt conflicted about supporting the measure that bars the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, but one of his "staff made a commitment" to signing it.

Moreover, he said that he was unaware the sheriffs wanted to meet with him in 2013 to discuss the proposed gun laws until it was too late; that had he known the law would divide the state, he would have reconsidered his support; and that he wished he and his staff had more facts before he signed the bill.

Hickenlooper on Thursday declined to comment despite multiple requests from The Denver Post, which sought to have the governor explain his comments and their apparent contradiction with published accounts of the debate and the gun laws' passage.

Supporters and opponents of the magazine limits expressed dismay at Hickenlooper's comments.

Officials with the National Rifle Association called Hickenlooper's comments a "desperate tap dance to try and have it both ways on gun control," said Catherine Mortensen, a spokeswoman for the NRA.

Hickenlooper told the sheriffs he never spoke to then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a key financial backer of the gun-control measures. But phone records unveiled by a conservative blog revealed he did speak with Bloomberg when the debates were at their peak.

Hickenlooper also talked with then-NRA president David Keene when Keene came to visit him during the debates. Also, Erie-based Magpul, an ammunition-magazine manufacturer, made elaborate public appeals against the ban.

Magpul has since made efforts to move the bulk of its operations out of the state.

Magpul and gun control opponents argued during the debate that the magazine bill would be unenforceable given that so many magazines already existed that exceeded the 15-round limit. Ultimately, lawmakers settled on outlawing the larger magazines at the point of sale, meaning that existing magazines remained legal to possess.

Yet Hickenlooper last week recounted to the sheriffs that he was told his staff went back and got facts they "should've had from the beginning," which revealed "roughly 300,000 magazines that carried more than 15 rounds" were already in Colorado.

Hickenlooper's office has been unable to explain how he learned of that statistic.

Four Republicans vying to advance from Tuesday's primary to challenge Hickenlooper, a Democrat, have assailed his support for gun control measures.

On social media Thursday, Republicans attacked Hickenlooper's comments. Even the liberal blog Colorado Pols questioned the governor's comments.

Denver political analyst Eric Sondermann said Hickenlooper's actions fall into a pattern "where the governor tries to have it both ways."

"In this case, you can't have it both ways. The governor signed these bills into law. He has to own it," Sondermann said.

Hickenlooper has been criticized and labeled as an indecisive leader by both Democrats and Republicans. His temporary reprieve of death-row inmate Nathan Dunlap upset both proponents and opponents of the death penalty.

Also unanswered from Hickenlooper's visit with sheriffs is which staffer made the commitment Hickenlooper mentioned.

The bill's primary sponsor, state Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, said no commitment was made to her. House Speaker Mark Ferrandino said "several conversations" over the gun control measures took place, but he does not recall any commitments the bill would be signed.

Then-state Sen. Evie Hudak resigned her seat in the midst of a recall effort waged because she supported the gun laws.

"I don't regret my support for those bills one bit," Hudak said Thursday.

She added: "It's reasonable reforms, and I think the governor truly does support putting limits on these magazines."

short version:
--Hickenlooper supported the background check/magazine ban law as written/passed (which i disagree with, but we're moving on);
--it passes, there's a political backlash that costs Democrats in CO;
--post-election, Hickenlooper apologizes to the sheriffs as he didn't know they want to talk with him regarding the bill (although there is evidence he knew they did), states he wasn't aware of the existence of so many magazines like that in CO before the law passed (although this was often stated publicly and, well, the whole Magpul thing), claimed he never spoke to Bloomberg prior to signing the law (he absolutely did) and that he signed the bill because a staffer of his promised someone he would (which is just WTF);
--Hickenlooper THEN tries to walk back his regrets (because Democrats are now upset) and retract some lies he told the sheriffs.

basically, if you live in CO and vote for this dude for anything again, what the ? are you doing with your life


  • Plutarch
    Plutarch Members Posts: 3,239 ✭✭✭✭✭
    LOL. politicians gonna politic. what's new? dude (and many others) should be publicly exposed and discredited though, so keep up the good work. damn I hate politicians.
  • janklow
    janklow Members, Moderators Posts: 8,613 Regulator
    Plutarch wrote: »
    LOL. politicians gonna politic. what's new?
    yeah, it's not like i expect him to be anything aside from a disingenuous ? , but at least in CO, politicians have to pay a price for it occasionally. i am a little jealous...