Colorado recall elections viewed as gun control litmus test

From The, Greg Campbell, 09/03/2013 – Lawmakers around the country are carefully watching Colorado’s historic recall elections for clues as to whether they can survive passing new gun control laws.

“The whole country is paying attention,” said John Caldera, the president of  the libertarian-leaning Independence Institute.

The recalls of Democratic state senators John Morse and Angela Giron stem  from their support for the state’s new gun control laws, one that limits the  size of ammunition magazines and one requiring background checks for all gun  transfers.

They were adopted during a rancorous legislative session during which  conservatives say they were steamrolled by the Democratic majority.

For months, the recall campaigns have drawn big bucks and careful scrutiny  from those on both sides of the gun debate from well outside Colorado’s  borders.

A major reason, observers say, is because the outcome of the elections could  well signal how much leeway — or how little — other state legislators will have  in placing their own restrictions on gun ownership.

“Here’s the bottom line,” said Kurt Bardella, president and CEO of Endeavor  Strategic Communications, which is consulting with the groups seeking to oust  Morse and Giron. “What happens in one week will have significant implications  for the overall debate on gun-control. … Lawmakers at every level of government  see Colorado as a bellwether as to whether they can risk pursuing a more  aggressive gun-control agenda.”

Bardella points to news last week that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg  donated $350,000 of his personal money to fight the recalls as a sign of how  high the stakes are.

“A successful recall in the face of the significant dollars spent by Mayor  Bloomberg would represent a crushing personal blow and would raise legitimate  questions about his effectiveness and viability in this debate,” Bardella wrote  in an email to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Both sides in the Colorado recalls have made similar references to the wider  implications of the recalls than just the fates of two lawmakers.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, in an email sent via the Democratic National Committee opposing the recalls, said the new  laws were a result of brave Democrats standing up to “outside special interests”  who are now “trying to make an example of two of them by forcing them into a  recall election.”

Morse, in the first line of a statement that will be included on his recall ballot, called those trying to oust him  “out-of-state billionaires and extremists” who are attempting to influence local  elections, particularly the National Rifle Association, which has spent about $109,000 on advertising and  fliers.

The New York Times reported that both sides have spent a total  of about $2 million on the recall elections, most of it in defense of the  targeted lawmakers.

A Bloomberg aid told the Times in an email that he would “support officials  across the country who are willing to stand up to the N.R.A. and Washington gun  lobby to support sane gun laws that will keep guns out of the hands of  criminals. These two senators did that.”

The recalls have drawn comment in recent days from the Washington Post, the Washington Times and the National Review. The  latter endorsed the lawmakers’ ouster in an  editorial because “[b]oth ignored the will of their constituents and pushed for  limits on the size of magazines and the extension of background checks to  private sales.”

Regardless of the outcome, the elections could have wide-ranging effects  beyond Colorado, Caldera said.

“This has nothing to do with Colorado,” he told The Daily Caller News  Foundation. “This has everything to do with Bloomberg and expanding into other  states.”

“Since Michael Bloomberg cannot get his anti-gun policies through at a  federal level — because Republicans control the House — the only way he can do  it is by making gains in the states. If he could get it to happen in Colorado,  then that opens up the entire West.”

“He cannot allow either one of these two legislators to be successfully  recalled,” he said, “because it will send a message to other Western state  legislators that this is a policy you don’t mess with.”

The elections will take place on Sept. 10.

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One response

  1. Colorado was one of the first states to institute Initiative and Referendum Laws with both local and statewide I&R and Recall available to its citizens. It has servered them well in the past, and is the vehicle with which the citizens of Colorado are now in the process of using to recall the two errant State Senators who dared to vote against the will of their constituents. NYC Mayor Blumeberg is trying to make the NRA the bully in this contest, and it just isn’t true.

    Sporting goods manufacturers in Colorado and hunting/fishing guides in the state have suffered severe losses in revenue in light of the fact that sportsmen all over the nation have refused to patronize any business in Colorado in protest of these two Colorado legislators. Some have even moved out of state in protest. Two of those manufacturers came to Texas and set up shop due to a friendlier atmosphere. (Their words, not mine) If we Texans would fight to enact I&R legislation in our state we just might find out that their are better ways to get rid of County Judges, Commissioners, etc. besides waiting for them to die, which is how most leave office. For all you might want to know about I&R, visit

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