Two Democratic lawmakers who supported tougher gun laws were ousted on Tuesday following a recall vote in Colorado.
State Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron were defeated yesterday after gun rights advocates demanded a recall following the enactment of stricter gun legislation due to a number of gun violence incidents in the state last year, including the Aurora shooting that killed 12 people in a movie theater.
Morse, along with Giron, sought and pushed through legislation that banned magazines with more than 15 rounds, as well as required background checks for all private gun sales. Morse made it clear that despite being voted out, he had no regrets for all of the effort he put into gun control.
"I said at the time if it costs me my political career, so be it," said Morse. "That's nothing compared to what the families of victims go through every single day. We did the right thing."
The recall election that took place was the first in Colorado’s history and, according to Giron, was not supported by the majority of Colorado voters.
“I’ve talked to thousands of voters in their homes and at their doors,” said Giron. “They think this forced recall has been an abuse of the law and an outrageous expense. They want their Senator to address all the things they care about, not just a single issue. That’s what I’ve done and that’s what I’ll continue to do after I win this election.”
Giron did not win the election, however, and gun rights activists are celebrating a victory today. Recall organizer Timothy Knight says that it was the people of Colorado who opposed the tight gun laws and that the Democratic Senators who were voted out did not listen to what the majority wanted.
"If the people had been listened to, these recalls wouldn't be happening," Knight said.
Although the two Democratic Senators were voted out of their seats, Morse says that it won’t change anything because Democrats still maintain control of the Legislature, adding that the vote is “purely symbolic.”
Republican lawmakers in the state, however, see it as a message to remaining Democrats.
“This should serve as a warning that the Democrats in the Legislature must be more balanced in the upcoming session,” said Republican state Senator Greg Brophy. “Governor Hickenlooper should also realize that his inability to control the Legislature could be very costly.”