Hickenlooper on Guns, Then and Now


In the wake of the Aurora Theater Shootings, CNN’s Candy Crowley interviewed Gov. John Hickenlooper, and tried mightily – and unsuccessfully – to get him to declare in favor of increased gun control.  Hickenlooper didn’t necessarily commit.  But one would be hard-pressed to see the interview, and read the transcript, and not come away with the impression that the Governor wasn’t interested in imposing new restrictions on Colorado gun owners:

Crowley: Do you see any law anywhere that could stop a man with no record in a society that protects the 2nd Amendment that might have prevented this?

Hickenlooper: You know, we are certainly looking at that and trying to say, “How do you prevent this?” You know, the Virginia Tech shootings, I look at – been looking at the shootings all across the country. And I try to say, how do we preserve our freedoms – right? – and all those things that define this country, and yet try to prevent something like this happening. Let me tell you, there’s no easy answer.

Crowley: What I hear from you is you would be open to people who wanted to suggest a gun law or something that might prevent this sort of thing, but at the moment you can’t imagine what that would be.

Hickenlooper: Yeah, I’m happy to look at anything, but this person, if there were no assault weapons available, if there were no this or no that, this guy’s going to find something right? He’s going to know how to create a bomb, he’s going to – I mean, who knows where his mind would have gone. Clearly a very intelligent individual, however twisted. You know, I know that’s the problem. This is really a human issue, in some profound way, that this level of disturbed individual, that we can’t recognize it.

What a difference a few months – and an election – make.  The Denver Post reports that Hickenlooper is now singing a different tune:

In a significant shift from his statements earlier this year, Gov. John Hickenlooper now says “the time is right” for Colorado lawmakers to consider further gun restrictions.

The Democratic governor made his comments in an interview with The Associated Pressthat comes less than half a year after the mass shooting in an Aurora movie theater that killed 12 and injured at least 58. His latest words also follow a shooting in an Oregon mall Tuesday that left three dead, including the gunman, who shot himself.

“I wanted to have at least a couple of months off after the shooting in Aurora to let people process and grieve and get a little space, but … I think, now … the time is right,” Hickenlooper said in the Wednesday interview.

Hickenlooper didn’t, at the time, say anything like, “Now isn’t the time to be considering this, in the heat of the moment.”  He spoke in terms of protecting freedoms and rights, the difficulty of crafting a bill that wouldn’t impinge on those, and the fact that Holmes would have used other items at his disposal to wreak havoc, if guns hadn’t been available.

But that was then.  The state House of Representatives was in Republican hands, and there was little-to-no chance of passing any sort of gun control legislation.

Now, with the House set to be firmly in Democrat control, Hickenlooper has changed his mind.  This position may more closely resembles his actual views on the matter.  Alternately, whether this may be merely the first of a series of instances where a more hard-line liberal legislature will force him to make difficult choices he has thus far been able to avoid.

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