Colorado Senators Recalled Over Gun-Control Support

     DENVER (CN) – Colorado Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron were ousted Tuesday in contentious recall elections over gun laws they championed.
     Morse, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, and Giron, a Democrat from Pueblo, were replaced by Republican write-in candidates in the first recalls of state lawmakers in Colorado history.
     Both played active roles in the passage of gun bills that banned large-capacity magazines and forced gun buyers to submit to background checks. The bills were signed into law in March by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
     Morse, who was ousted by fewer than 400 votes, had said the new laws were a response to last year’s gun massacres in Aurora and Newtown, Conn.
     “This legislative session became about guns. It was not planned that way,” Morse said in a statement in March. “It was forced upon us by two horrific massacres in one year, one in our own back yard. So in the wake of these massacres and everyday gun violence, today three gun safety bills were signed into law.”
     He added, “Let’s be clear, zero of these laws take guns from law-abiding citizens. Instead, these are laws that the majority of Coloradans want. They are reasonable. As leaders, we have to make tough decisions. We know that some criminals will find ways around these laws, but that doesn’t mean we should surrender to them. We must try to save lives.”     
     Last summer, James Holmes allegedly used an assault rifle equipped with a 100-round drum magazine to kill 12 people in a movie theater in Aurora. The state also saw 15 people shot to death during the massacre at Columbine High School in 1999.
     In the end, 50.96 percent of voters in Colorado Springs asked to recall Morse, while 56 percent of Pueblo voters wanted Giron out. The state lawmakers were replaced by George Rivera and Bernie Herpin, respectively.
     In brief concession speeches, both recalled senators expressed their pride in having supported the gun bills.
     The elections were the subject of numerous challenges in court this summer.
     In July, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, a Republican, sued Gov. Hickenlooper in Denver County Court, claiming the governor shirked his constitutional duty to set an election date despite receiving certified petitions from Gessler.
     That lawsuit referred to an earlier complaint in which a voter challenged Gessler’s ruling that the petitions were sufficient.

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