COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., January 18, 2015 — When billionaire Michael Bloomberg set his gun control sights on Colorado, he probably didn’t understand the fight he was starting. While he and his allies mostly won the first round in the 2013 legislative session, the fight is far from over.
Back in 2013, then Senate President John Morse opened the session with five radical gun control bills; three of them made it into law. The bills restrict the size of magazines, expand background checks for firearms buyers, and add a fee for background checks for gun transfers.
There were massive demonstrations against the legislation. Both citizens and sheriffs lined up to testify against them. Morse ramrodded them through anyway.
Mark Glaze, director of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) said that if these bills could be passed in Colorado, they could be passed anywhere.
That was then, this is now. The consequences for the Democrat-left agenda in Colorado have been tremendous.
To begin with, both John Morse and Angela Giron were recalled — the first state senators in Colorado history. Evie Hudak resigned rather than face certain recall. Her recall would have flipped the state senate to the Republicans just a year after the 2012 elections.
While Democrats retained control of the state Senate in 2013, they lost it in 2014. Democrats appointed the even more radical Rachel Zenzinger to replace Evie Hudak. Zenzinger was defeated by Laura Woods, who was one of the organizers of the Hudak recall campaign.
Woods in the Senate is joined by Gordon Klingenschmitt in the House—a person who got his start in Colorado politics with the Recall Morse campaign.
Democrats retained their hold on the House but their margin is down to two seats from five in 2012. Had Republicans and Libertarians been able to work together, Democrats would have lost two more seats in both the House and the Senate, losing the House as well.
The Senate flipped to Republicans despite the Democrats re-taking the two seats they lost in the recalls. Both were Democrat-leaning districts and the Colorado Republican Party did nothing to help either George Rivera or Bernie Herpin retain their seats. Mike Merrifield won the seat previously held by Herpin and Morse; Merrifield had been the four-term State Representative from within that senate district.
Most disappointing is the fact that he had run Bloomberg’s Colorado MAIG operation and pledged to start where Morse left off.
He won’t be able to do much, however. The state legislative session just started this week. It is already apparent that Republicans are aiming to repeal the unpopular gun control bills and expand gun rights:
- House Bill (HB) 15-1009 would repeal the magazine ban
- HB 15-1049 would extend the “castle doctrine” to include businesses
- HB 15-1050 would repeal the expanded background check and fees
- Senate Bill 15-032 would allow concealed carry without a permit
Will any of these bills make it through the legislature and onto Democrat Gov. Hickenlooper’s desk? Would he sign them? He already told a meeting of Colorado sheriffs last year that he hadn’t really read the earlier bills and that it was a mistake to sign them. It would be a great opportunity to see if there was any truth behind his words.
Barely had the legislative session ended in June 2013 when the Independence Institute and 54 of Colorado’s 64 county sheriffs filed a lawsuit in federal court against the magazine ban. The suit was ultimately dismissed for lack of standing. One of the lead sheriffs in the suit, Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, is now State Sen. John Cooke.
There were several citizen-led initiatives to undo the gun control laws as well, but with no funding and no state-wide organization, none made it to the ballot in 2014. That’s not the end of the story. One idea, that legislators would be prohibited from passing any restrictions on the right to bear arms without a vote of the people, was adopted in Castle Rock in August 2014 by a whopping 71 percent of the vote.
Nor are the effects limited to legislative action. Sen. Mark Udall was defeated this fall in no small part by the independent I Am Created Equal organization, which created the “Udall Lied” campaign. IACE is run by Laura Carno, who got started by doing messaging for the Recall Morse campaign.
The fight is waking up the population — and they’re not in favor of the leftist agenda. History will mark the 2013 as the high water mark of The Colorado Model. Liberty is on the march.