State lawmaker apologizes for rape remark
February 19th, 2013
09:08 PM ET
1 year ago

State lawmaker apologizes for rape remark

(CNN) - A Colorado state lawmaker apologized Tuesday for a remark on rape he made during a debate over gun control laws.

State Rep. Joe Salazar, a Democrat, said the comment did not make his point, which was that a young woman who is in danger on a college campus would be better served by police call boxes, "safe zones" and whistles than a gun.

During the legislative debate, he said, "Because you just don't know who you are going to be shooting at," Salazar said. "If you feel like you're going to be raped or if you feel like someone's been following you around or if you feel like you're in trouble and when you may actually not be - that you pop out that gun and you pop - pop a round at somebody. And you might have just made a mistake."

The Democratic-held House debated and passed four gun-related measures on Monday, including a prohibition on carrying a concealed weapon into buildings on college campuses, a limit on magazine sizes, a fee to cover the cost of a background check, and a requirement that background checks be conducted before private gun sales.

Vice President Joe Biden and National Rifle Association President David Keene personally lobbied for and against the bills, which now go to the Democratic-held state Senate. The Denver Post reported the votes there could be close, and the bills could be delayed as the body handles other legislation.

Salazar said in a statement that he regretted making the comment.

"I am deeply sorry. The words I said near the end of a 12-hour debate are not reflective of the point I was trying to make," he said. "I am a husband and father of two girls. I care deeply about their safety, and I would never question a woman's ability to discern a threat. My larger point was about how more guns on campus don't mean you're more safe. I used a bad example. Again, I'm sorry."

Salazar also is an adjunct professor of law who has taught at several Colorado universities and said he plans to take a concealed weapons training course because he received a "nasty death threat."

In his class "we go over a scenario about having weapons on campus," he said. "Imagine that we're here in this class, and you start hearing some shooting happen outside. And then you start hearing more shooting. What are you going to do?"

He makes the point in class that an armed student who does not see the shooting start would not be prepared to handle the situation. "You could actually be shooting somebody who thinks that they're protecting you," he said.

The mass shooting in an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater in July was one of a series of massacres last year that turned a spotlight on gun violence. James Holmes has been charged with the killing of 12 and wounding of 58 people.

– CNN's Carma Hassan, Todd Sperry and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report


Filed under: Colorado
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Clueless Prez

    He's a Democrat it's OK.

    February 19, 2013 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  2. Larry L

    We're being a little too sensitive here. An integral part of gun safety is reserving the gun option for a scenario when some other protection isn't enough. The possibility of an error in judgement is always consideration. Many people may not take the time to develop sufficient skills with weapons and may never acquire the emotional control required to assess the situation and act accordingly. Wouldn't they be better served with other options?

    February 19, 2013 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  3. phlip02

    I don't see what was wrong with his comment. He makes a valid point, people in heightened emotional situations make mistakes. And guns make those mistakes fatal. More guns means more fatal mistakes.

    February 19, 2013 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  4. phlip02

    I don't see what was wrong with his comment. He makes a valid point: people in heightened emotional situations make mistakes, and guns turn those into fatal mistakes. More guns means more fatal mistakes.

    February 19, 2013 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  5. Truth

    He made a good point. Scary people make horrible gun owners....

    February 19, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  6. Mr. Moderate

    Not sure what he is apologizing for, he is right. As much as the gun rights crowd hates to admit it, while a gun might prevent a violent act, it just as likely it not more so to make the situation worse. A law abiding gun owner with a concealed weapon was at the Giffords shooting and admits he almost shot the person who disarmed Jared Laughner. I personally know otherwise level headed gun owners who made conscious decisions to escalate a traffic dispute because they had a gun with them. They aren't always the answer and that needs to be part of the debate.

    February 19, 2013 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  7. Larry L

    Politicians need to remove the word "rape" from their vocabulary. That never turns out to be a good word. It would also be smart to not talk about "Hitler", and don't use "hip" terminology... it's not hip when you say it.

    February 20, 2013 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. SugarKube

    The rape issue comes front and center with the democrats wondering if ladies should be allowed to prtoct themselves using a gun. I guess not.

    February 20, 2013 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  9. Jacob

    So what if the whistles and call boxes don't work, I'm assuming the anti gun people would want the women to just let it happen assuming that she has no other options. Politicians seeking to ban or limit guns are you listening to yourselves you sound nuts. Recently another politician claimed that vomiting or urinating on a rapists would stop the attack. No tell me anti gun people how are these statements not crazy and its most definitely not helping your cause.

    February 20, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  10. Animal

    Hey there Joe. You may want to rethink your idea about 'safe zones'. You do know that 'safe zones' are for LGBT. Not a safe zone for someone who is being pursued by an attacker.

    February 20, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  11. sifto

    he is liberal–he should and will get away with it! (unlike Akin and Murdoch)

    February 20, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    He's simply illustrating how ridiculous this whole gun control effort really is..........the criminals will have a field day.

    February 20, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Salazar said. "If you feel like you're going to be raped or if you feel like someone's been following you around or if you feel like you're in trouble and when you may actually not be – that you pop out that gun and you pop – pop a round at somebody. And you might have just made a mistake."
    ---------------
    My point exactly. You make a mistake and you *cannot* be held criminally responsible because you were fearful for your life and personal safety: and so you "stood your ground." shot and killed somebody.

    February 20, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |