New York Times reporter Jack Healy praised the "pragmatic...data-driven" Democratic Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's gun control fight in Tuesday's "For Colorado Governor, a Long Path to Gun Limits ."
The wounds and rage from a mass shooting in a Colorado movie theater were still raw one morning last July when Gov. John W. Hickenlooper went on national television to discuss grief and guns. Shaken and groping for answers, he nevertheless cast doubt on one idea: that tighter gun laws could have prevented the carnage.
“This person -- if there were no assault weapons available, and no this or no that -- this guy’s going to find something, right?” he said on CNN, referring to the gunman whose rampage killed 12 and wounded dozens. “If it was not one weapon, it would have been another.”
Eight months later, Mr. Hickenlooper is poised to sign some of the toughest new gun control laws in the nation, capping a journey that has transformed a popular, data-driven Western Democrat who takes his son shooting into an unlikely frontman for bringing new gun laws into the center of the United States. The bill signing is expected on Wednesday.
Where Democrats see progress, Republicans see overreach. About one in three Colorado households own a gun, and Republicans are hoping the state’s hunters and sport shooters, libertarians and social conservatives will punish Democrats in next year’s state-level elections. Conservatives in southwestern Colorado have already submitted petitions to recall State Representative Mike McLachlan, a Democrat who supported the gun bills.
More praise for the paper's new favorite Democrat:
Aides said his strategy reflected a pragmatic approach, one that extended to his days as a business owner or as mayor of Denver. In 2010, a year of fervid partisanship, he cruised to the governor’s seat by running as a pragmatist who rejected nasty campaigning. He even filmed a television ad in the shower (clothes on) and promised voters a muck-free campaign.
Healy chose his words to render the Second Amendment advocates merely angry and immature:
As the bills marched ahead, hundreds of outraged gun owners and dealers crammed the halls of the gilded Capitol to vent. Cars drove around the building, honking like angry geese in opposition to the measures.
An airplane even circled overhead, towing a banner that read, “Hick: Do Not Take Our Guns.”
But supporters say most Coloradans, even those who shoot skeet and store elk meat in their deep freezes, quietly support the new laws.
Of course, the Second Amendment is not about duck-hunting.