Colo. governor suggests gun-control groups stay away

10/14/13
 
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from USAToday,
10/14/13:

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper suggests national gun-control groups stay away from a looming recall battle that could switch control of the state Senate to the GOP. The groups poured money into an unsuccessful defense of two state lawmakers recalled over their gun votes earlier this year.

“Colorado is a state that people like to be themselves and solve their own problems,” the Democratic governor said in an interview with Capital Download, USA TODAY’s weekly video newsmaker series. “They don’t really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs, and maybe the NRA gets a pass on that.

“But (it is) probably not a bad idea” for gun-control groups, such as the one established by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to curb their efforts if gun-rights activists collect enough signatures to force a recall vote on state Sen. Evie Hudak, a two-term Democrat from a suburban district north of Denver, he said.

If Republicans succeed in gaining her seat, Democrats would lose their 18-17 edge in the state Senate.

Petition organizers have until Dec. 3 to collect 18,900 signatures. “They’re well-funded and there’s a lot of energy behind this, a lot of frustration,” Hickenlooper said. “I’m going to guess it’s probably 50-50” that they will be able to get the recall vote on the ballot.

But, he noted, “I didn’t think they’d get enough signatures for the first two.”

Hickenlooper acknowledges the difficulties of passing federal gun laws even after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December and other tragedies. “We have this tradition of the Second Amendment and people’s rights to self-defense and a certain suspicion that the government can’t be trusted,” he said. “That’s going to make it very difficult. I think any progress in terms of even universal background checks will be slow.”

The governor was interviewed while in Washington for The Daily Beast’s Hero Summit, discussing crisis leadership after Colorado’s devastating floods last month.

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