Colorado Recall: Gun Control Debate Fires UpBy: Bennett Rieser - September 10, 2013
Reuters reported that two Colorado Democrats are finding themselves on the unfriendly side of a recall election this week. John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo both face potential recall in the wake of national gun control debates and the laws they chose to support.
Morse, in particular, helped lead an effort to ban magazines with a bullet capacity of greater than 15 rounds and a similar effort that would require private gun sales to include background checks. Both Democrats are finding themselves targeted by gun control opponents and NRA television ads.
Colorado suffered a national tragedy when James Holmes entered a crowded movie theater in Aurora and killed 12 people while injuring 58. Holmes was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol. The incident, combined with the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, led lawmakers to try and manage fallout through legislation.
Gun rights advocates are adamantly seeking recall as a way to send a message to lawmakers about their voting records regarding gun control, while gun control advocates find the gun rights advocates to be bullies. Both sides are pouring the dollars into the campaign, with the NRA donating $368,000 to recall the two Democrats while almost $3 million have been donated to fight the recall effort. Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City personally donated $350,000 to defend the Democrats while LA billionaire Eli Broad donated $250,000.
A great deal of mudslinging has already taken place: a Rocky Mountain Gun Owners ad accused John Morse of obeying “East Coast liberals like billionaire playboy New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” who earned himself the nickname “Nanny Bloomberg” for his repeated regulatory efforts perceived as governmental intrusion.
Regardless of the politics involved, each side of the aisle is watching the election with great anxiety. If the recall goes through, lawmakers may find themselves under fire for attacking gun rights, but if the recall fails, Colorado’s stricter gun laws may just be coming to a county near you.
Tom Cronin, author of a book about recall elections and a professor at Colorado College, said that “In terms of the math, it’s like a pebble… But it’s a pebble that will send a wide message.”
If you want to know more, the LA Times has a more in-depth report.
UPDATE: In a Tuesday morning announcement, both Democrats have been formally recalled by election and will be replaced by Republicans. Expect politicians to be more paranoid about expressing pro-gun control opinions in the future.