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After recalls, Governor John Hickenlooper softens talk on gun control

7:26 PM, Sep 11, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - The day after Colorado's first ever recalls of sitting state lawmakers, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado) appeared to distance himself from the debate over new gun control laws that prompted the special elections.

Speaking to reporters outside of his office Wednesday, Hickenlooper said he was "never as fired up" about the magazine limit bill he signed into law this year as he was over passing the law that expanded background checks.

Since this story was initially posted, the governor's office has pointed to numerous previous occasions when the Governor expressed his lack of certainty over the bill.

This newest way of expressing that lack of enthusiasm for the bill is likely meant to soothe unaffiliated voters who feel that the gun control package was an overreach, says 9NEWS political analyst Floyd Ciruli.

But it's a tough juggling act.

"It's hard to send a signal to part of the electorate that you really didn't like that piece of legislation all that much," Ciruli said. "But at the same time the fact that you signed it means that you are responsible for it, so you don't want to look wishy-washy, and you also don't want to anger your Democratic base."

"It is an imposition, I'm not denying that it's an inconvenience to people when they're going out to the shooting range," Hickenlooper said. "That was a tough one."

The Governor simultaneously offered a statistic about police officer deaths as a reason to have a magazine cap, but would not say whether he'd sign the gun control bills again if he had it to do all over.

"I'm not going to second-guess myself or legislation," Hickenlooper said. "It invariably gets me in to trouble."

As for what the successful recalls might foreshadow for his re-election hopes, Hickenlooper acknowledged that the gun control bills he signed will force him to do some explaining.

"Obviously I'll have to do a better job of getting the facts out there," Hickenlooper said.

As he has done before, the governor focused more on the background check law in his comments, saying that the magazine limits only came up a couple of times on his recent tour of the Eastern plains.

Expanded background checks enjoy more popular support than magazine limits in public polls.

While Coloradans have seen what the backlash over gun policy can do in two senate districts, it's still unclear whether there is enough of that sentiment statewide to damage to Hickenlooper's re-election hopes.

That will depend in how strong of a GOP opponent he ends up facing in November 2014.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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