Colorado governor wants universal background checks on gun sales
January 10th, 2013
03:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Colorado governor wants universal background checks on gun sales

(CNN) - Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, became the latest governor to call for more gun regulations as he reflected on last year's deadly movie theater shooting in his state and said Coloradans "have an obligation to prevent similar tragedies."

As the heated debate continues over firearms following the Newtown elementary school massacre, Hickenlooper told elected officials Thursday in his State of the State address that "our democracy demands this type of debate."

He then made his own proposal.

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"Let me prime the pump: Why don't we have universal background checks for all gun sales," he said, prompting a long standing ovation from the crowd of state lawmakers and law enforcement workers. Federal law exempts gun purchasers from undergoing background checks during private transactions, including at gun shows.

Hickenlooper's recent comments on gun control represent a notably different tune than the one he had following the Aurora movie theater rampage last summer, which left 12 dead and dozens wounded. Back then, the governor said the timing was not right to talk about guns, emphasizing a need for space so victims and their families could grieve.

But in December, shortly after a fatal shooting at an Oregon mall and just before the Newtown, Connecticut killings, Hickenlooper began to express openness toward a discussion on gun control. And now he's calling for changes in legislation.

"Surely Second Amendment advocates and gun control supporters can find common ground in this proposition: Let's examine our laws and make the changes needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people," he said.

However, the first-term governor said it's "not enough" to focus solely on weapons. He also requested support for a "comprehensive overhaul" of the state's mental health system that will "make it easer to identify people with mental illness who are a danger to themselves and others."

His comments came one day after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, called for the state to pass the toughest gun laws in the country. Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut also urged changes in gun laws in his State of the State address Wednesday.

"When it comes to preventing future acts of violence in our schools, let me say this: more guns are not the answer," Malloy said.

Furthermore, Vice President Joe Biden is holding meetings this week with groups from both the pro- and anti-gun movements and pledged to give his recommendations to prevent gun violence to President Barack Obama by Tuesday.

Filed under: Colorado • Gun rights • John Hickenlooper
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. empresstrudy

    Anyone who buys a gun should get shot AT not shot but shot AT.

    January 10, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    Wait a minute: mental health? That's the first step to the New World Order taking over, the government questioning people's mental health. Sorry, that was too easy. I'm just waiting for the first rightie on here to say it and be serious.

    I'm waiting, righties, don't keep me waiting.....

    January 10, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    The problem is that we need a uniform gun policy. Most gun crimes in NYC are committed with weapons originally purchased in places like Virginia. When you can go out of state to make purchases that are illegal in your state.....the tough laws are next to useless.

    January 10, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC


    Anyone who buys a gun should get shot AT not shot but shot AT.
    Statistics show that you are 20 times more likely to be shot if you have a gun in your home. In other words, most of the folks getting shot are gun owners or have one in their posesseion when their shot.

    January 10, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. rs

    Actually, this is a very logical first step. Registration, License, Insurance for all who want to pocess fire arms- just like automobiles (which gun owners posting today seem to be very fearful of BTW).

    January 10, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. The Elephant in the Room

    I know it`s a bit verbose bur, let`s REWRITE the Newton massacre headline to unmask to problem

    Young man who showed SLIGHT traces of mental instability, takes his MOTHER`s LEAGALLY PURCHASED assault rifle with HIGH CAPACITY mag and kills 26 CIVILIANS in a NO-CRIME community.

    Now take a hard look at what steps could have ABSOLUTELY moved the outcome in the desired direction.

    a) Arm teachers/ guard at school? Maybe, but not if shhoter got the drop on them, plotted, planned & snuck into building, Armed guards @ Columbine High didn`t prevent those deaths.

    b) Mental Health conditons surfacing in Background Checks? The Newton shooter wasn`t the gun owner so there wasn`t any check. Also, the man hadn`t been labeled as mental ill; only `strange`.

    c) Ban high capacity mags? Partially effective – would reduce death toll. There were several courageous people in Aurora. Newton, Va Tech & Arizona that were ready and waiting to pounce on shooter if given the opportunity. 7-round clips provide that opportunity faster.

    d) Ban assualt weapons? Yes, the Newton massacre vanishes. So too do others.

    January 10, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Background checks for every transaction. Taxes for every transaction, including ammo. Background checks for all who live in the home. National registration database of all gun ownership and transactions. Etc.

    Insurance? Not so much. Name me an insurer who would create an insurance product that covers the wrongful death suit when Johnny Mullethead's son, LIttle Jimmy Mullethead, sneaks into his parents' closet with his best friend, pulls out daddy's negligently stored gun and blows his best friend's brains all over the comforter. UNINSURABLE.


    January 10, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |