At the start of the session legislative Democrats were confident to the point of cocky about their gun control legislation. Only a few weeks later, after a national controversy erupted over Rep. Joe Salazar’s (D-Thornton) remarks about rape and Magpul Industries threatened to leave the state over a proposed high capacity magazine ban, the issue has shifted, and fast.
And there is no Colorado politician better attuned to the shifting winds of the Colorado electorate than Governor John Hickenlooper.
Reports Colorado Public Radio:
[Feb. 20, 2013] Governor John Hickenlooper says he’s still weighing whether to support a Democratic bill limiting ammunition magazine size.
“We haven’t taken a specific position on that bill yet,” said the governor after moderating a forum on gun police Tuesday night, “but I from time to time have said contradictory things on it.”
When asked about his support for the bill last week, the governor said a limit somewhere between 15 and 20 rounds “might make sense.”
Hickenlooper, a generally pro-business governor, is likely concerned about the negative economic ramifications that the mag ban would have. As The Denver Post reported, it not only would kill hundreds of jobs at Magpul Industries, but could decimate the plastics manufacturing sector in Colorado.
Notably, the Guv also sees merit in Republicans’ argument that high capacity magazines help protect people, as he told CPR:
“It’s a tough issue: I mean, how many lives do you save, and how real is the inconvenience to the people who want to have a larger capacity magazine and feel it’s essential for defending their house?”
Hickenlooper wouldn’t be the first Democrat to back off gun control legislation after a public backlash. Earlier this week in Minnesota, a state far more liberal than Colorado, a ban on high capacity magazines was pulled.
Reports the Star Tribune:
The Minnesota Senate will not act to ban assault weapons or high-capacity ammunition clips this year, a DFL leader said Monday.
Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, who is chairing the Senate’s gun hearings this week, said he will focus on closing the loopholes in background checks and leave the issue of banning weapons or ammunition to Congress.
“The assault weapons ban and high-capacity magazine ban proposals are highly divisive,” said Latz, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Legions of concerned gun owners turned out for three days of hearings on gun issues last week, and Latz said such bans also do not have strong support from law enforcement.
While legislative Democrats have so far shown little concern for the economic impact of their gun grab legislation, could Hickenlooper be returning to the side of the angels and veto this job-killing bill?
Have Democrats so blown their gun grab messaging that the titular head of their party in Colorado is throwing in the towel on their behalf?