Colorado sets recall elections for two pro-gun control lawmakers
July 18th, 2013
08:41 PM ET
5 years ago

Colorado sets recall elections for two pro-gun control lawmakers

(CNN) - Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado on Thursday set the date for recall elections for two state senators, marking the first recall effort in the state's history.

On September 10, voters in two districts will have the chance to re-elect or oust their incumbent Democratic state representatives who are being targeted for supporting tougher gun laws in Colorado.

With the help of the powerful National Rifle Association, organizers submitted petitions last month with enough signatures to start the recall process. Earlier Thursday, a Denver district court judge ruled that the petitions met all legal requirements, clearing the way for Hickenlooper to set the elections.

"This is a positive development," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said in a statement to CNN. "We look forward to working with voters in these legislative districts in Colorado who initiated this effort."

Those leading the effort had to collect enough signatures to equal 25% of the votes cast in the previous election in each district.

For District 11, represented by Senate President John Morse, activists collected 10,137 valid signatures - roughly a few thousand more than the 7,178 signatures required. The district includes Colorado Springs.

For District 3, represented by state Sen. Angela Giron, petitioners collected 12,648 valid signatures, about 1,400 more than required. Giron’s district covers Pueblo.

"I'm aware of Chief District Judge Hyatt's ruling and I'm READY!" Giron wrote on her Facebook page. "This last session was my most successful yet, and I'll continue to talk with SD3 residents about our successes. Whether it's an election in September or next year, I'm ready!!! Are you with me?"

Organizers tried but failed to gather enough signatures in two other districts represented by Democrats.

Both Giron and Morse voted in favor of gun control measures that require universal background checks for gun sales and limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. Hickenlooper signed the laws into place in March, and they began taking effect July 1, nearly a year after the deadly Aurora movie theater massacre. Colorado's history with mass shootings also includes the bloody attack at Columbine High School in 1999.

Colorado did vote for mandatory background checks for gun show purchases after Columbine and ramped up spending on mental health initiatives after Aurora. But it wasn't until the Newtown elementary school shooting in Connecticut in December that lawmakers in Colorado, as well as Hickenlooper himself, began to seriously take up changes in firearm legislation.

Morse told CNN's Jake Tapper in May, when signatures were being collected, that it was important to remember Colorado was "ground zero" for two of the nation's worst mass shootings.

"We addressed [tighter gun regulations] this session, but this is what we get for that response," Morse said.

County Clerks from El Paso and Pueblo counties have estimated the special elections will cost taxpayers between $150,000 and $200,000, according to the Denver Post.

- CNN's Steve Brusk and Alison Harding contributed to this report.

Filed under: Colorado • Gun control • Gun rights • John Hickenlooper • NRA
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Pete

    So the NRA is going the bully route in recalling democrates who think like most in more strengent gun regulations..What's gonna happen NRA when your votes in a recall fail and you've got crap on your face,pretty much nothing ignorents right,I think not!!!

    July 18, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    All these senseless deaths, all this blood, is on the hands of the NRA, period.

    July 18, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Donkey Party

    Remember when the NRA was just concerned about hunter's safety and responsible gun ownership? Now they're just a militant right-wing domestic-terrorist faction (much like the entire GOP), and a shill for gun manufacturers.

    July 18, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. Rockymtnrebl

    COME ON COLORADO! Do not let the phony hysterical political theatrics that the NRA and republican party CREATED, let these recalls succeed. Shove it down their phony dysfunctional and dishonorable throats.

    July 18, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  5. lazarus00000

    Thank goodness, I had almost lost confidence in my favorite state.

    July 18, 2013 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  6. Lathrope

    Stand foursquare for your beliefs. Recall those who want to progress. Enshrine those who preach war, violence and death. The people wishing to make life better, are the ones you need to be leery of. IDIOTS.

    July 18, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. S. B. Stein

    The NRA used to have reason used in their policy decisions. Once they parted ways with the police over armor piercing bullets, then they became for the weapons manufactures and crazies. I understand the idea for people to have weapons. That would be rifles and hand guns. Assault weapons aren't what the average citizen needs. They are meant for soldiers during combat.

    July 18, 2013 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  8. tom l

    State's rights. Period.

    July 18, 2013 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. tom l

    What is so great about this country is that this is the same state that voted to legalize marijuana. If you really consider it, it's very consistent thinking.

    July 18, 2013 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  10. John

    This is Colorado's chance to tell the NRA that THEY, the people of Colorado, decide who they want in their own government. If they fail to keep these 2 people, the NRA owns Colorado and it owns them.

    July 18, 2013 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  11. sammy750

    The NRA is in complete control of this recall. Not the people, but the NRA and the Republicans. The NRA does not want any laws again gun control or any attempt to try to get a bill passed. The NRA big arm will come crashing down on you.

    July 18, 2013 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  12. sammy750

    I hope the people and voters of Colorado are smarter than the NRA and re elects the 2. Throw mud in the face of the NRA.

    July 18, 2013 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Recall and kick'em out.

    July 18, 2013 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  14. Mike Texoma

    Two did not get on the ballot, and two did. I have no idea how those two districts are gerrymandered. And I have no idea how the anti-NRA forces number in comparison with the pro-NRA forces. I do hope that the change of one seat in the Colorado Senate will not make a difference in the prospects for reasonable regulation.

    July 19, 2013 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  15. army vet

    out you go libs

    July 19, 2013 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Why is the NRA against universal background checks for gun purchases? How else do you tell the good guys from the bad guys?


    July 19, 2013 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  17. ThinkAgain

    A majority of Americans – including a majority of Republicans – want universal background checks and the closing of the gun show sales loophole (according to a Fox News poll).

    Why is the NRA so anti-American and anti-democracy?

    July 19, 2013 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  18. MaryM

    NRA choses guns over people

    July 19, 2013 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  19. regenesis0

    Strange. Were these the only four legislators who voted for the bill? How do you pass a bill with only four guys and no Governor?
    (Oh, right... the NRA's purpose isn't to go after the people who passed the bill, rather they're trying to scare OTHER lawmakers by proving they can take down candidates who are in a vulnerable positions.)

    July 19, 2013 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  20. Name Uche Agonsi

    In case I missed it, shouldn't gun control in its simpliest definition stand for knowing people guns are sold to in US & somehow restraining it private usages outside abnormality, moreso, with growing technology in gun productions......... Is not definitely a death wish. Otherwise is gunhooooo. Brother, its scary to imagine a situation people of all types are opportuned to carry guns without restriction of any type & at all places. Believe or not, at a time law enforcement will be history. Infact Ancient China, or time of America's wild wild West, when survival was based on the fittest, would be Child's play. If I were these Senators, opposed to the resurrection, I would gladly accept my fate........

    July 19, 2013 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  21. USMC1371

    Good for Colorado

    July 19, 2013 06:12 am at 6:12 am |
  22. aCriticalEye

    Lead the way by the NRA......says it all
    Big money buying political influence, overtly. Although I am a gun owner, I can not in good faith agree with the policies of the NRA. We are supposed to be a civilized society, yet the NRA is leading us back to the wild wild west.

    July 19, 2013 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  23. M.A.P.

    Nice democracy. A loud and unruly (not to mentione DANGEROUS) minority of irresponsable gun campaigners get to decide when elections are held and manipulate the people enough to get their way. The NRA is a national disgrace and an international embarassment, I can't wait for the stricter gun laws to come, not just for the lives they will save but also to see these gun freaks cry.

    July 19, 2013 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  24. smith

    "With the help of the powerful NRA". I beg to differ. The people of Colorado are the power. The NRA holds little or no power, liberals have just built them up to a goliath when in fact they are just a mere david.

    July 19, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  25. Une

    Everyone that speaks about the NRA is just vitriol. NRA had no hand in this. These recall elections are truly from the people. Again when you recalled Gov Walker that was peachy. But when the tables are tuned no that's not democracy that's fascism. Can't have it both ways. The system is set up like this for a reason. If people want Morse to represent them again they will vote him in office again

    July 19, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
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