John Hickenlooper on Gun Control
HICKENLOOPER: Well, we don't think so. Some people have suggested perhaps there's a copycat element to this. But he bought the gun legally; then he bought a large amount of ammunition. Having had these episodes in the past, we do have strategies and protocols in place, where we had a deputy sheriff who was there within a minute of the first shots.
Q: You had two state legislators who were recalled from office because they led the effort to tighten gun laws out there. Where do you see this going?
HICKENLOOPER: Two things that Coloradoans deeply care about is the protection of their Second Amendment rights, but they also care deeply about making their community safer. Things like universal background checks, I think they are going to make us safer. But in this specific case, it's not going to make a difference at all.
However it's difficult to say with certainty just how much the state's strict new gun control laws play into voters' feelings on Hickenlooper. In early 2013 polling, Colorado voters overwhelmingly favored universal background check legislation and a strong majority supported a ban on high capacity magazines which hold more than 10 rounds.
HICKENLOOPER: Definitely what we called this was a "line item recall." I'm not sure it has a national message or even a statewide message.
Q: Is there unease with the broader Democratic social agenda?
HICKENLOOPER: No. I saw most of the campaign literature in both of those recall campaigns. To the vast majority, it was very specific about universal background checks, high capacity magazines.
Q: NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg heads up a mayor's group that is pushing for more gun control. He sunk a lot of money into trying to save these two Democratic state senators. Was it helpful?
HICKENLOOPER: In Colorado, like a lot of western states, we like to solve our own problems with our own people. So, there is a certain resentment when any outside money whether it's from Bloomberg or from National Rifle Association.
HICKENLOOPER: After the shootings last summer in the movie theater, we really focused on mental health first then universal background checks. Colorado is a state where we have a long tradition of a relationship with guns and hunting and that traditional approach from father to child. So we tried to tighten up a little bit things like universal background checks which clearly make a significant difference, that's where we put our initial focus.
Q: Do you think that the Congress is wrong not to go after an assault weapons ban?
HICKENLOOPER: I think the feeling right now around assault weapons at least in Colorado is that they're so hard to define what an assault weapon is. There's a lot of questions whether the federal ban made a difference. It's a tough sell.
Keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill can find common ground in support of this proposition: Let's examine our laws and make the changes needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. It's not enough to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons. We have to do a better