Two Colorado legislators who supported the State’s trio of new gun control laws in March are now fighting to keep their seats, as residents warm to the growing nationwide push to recall lawmakers whose in-office actions don’t reflect what voters thought they were getting at election time.
State Senate President John Morse, a Democrat, is the highest-profile target of voter backlash against the gun-control legislation, which passed March 20. Recall supporters have been compiling petitions in Colorado Springs, collecting signatures at gun stores and in high-traffic public places like libraries and grocery stores.
Morse told FOX News he’s already resigned himself to the fact that the petitions are there in adequate number to force a recall vote, but he protests that he’s been targeted not only by irate Colorado residents, but also by the national gun lobby — especially the National Rifle Association.
“That’s what’s going on here. They want to take out the Senate president,” he said. In a separate CNN interview, he elaborated: “It was a grassroots effort for a little while, but when that didn’t take at all, it was clear they were getting money from outside. And I wasn’t the least bit surprised the NRA was behind it.”
Recall organizers originally targeted four State legislators, including Morse, but two of those efforts have already stalled. That, in part, is why the NRA has thrown its support behind a single campaign to hold a recall vote for a high-profile Senator like Morse.
Recall leaders don’t dispute it, saying the effort is intended, in part, to remove out-of-touch Legislators from office — but also to send a message that voters have recourse when their voices aren’t heeded.
“It’s as much about saying Colorado is angry as it is about getting one guy out,” explained Anthony Garcia, who’s organizing the Morse recall effort. “Legislators need to know when citizens are outraged that they can’t ignore the people.”
For his part, Morse is campaigning as though it’s election season, urging voters not to sign the petitions. He’s getting outside support, too, in the form of a $20,000 contribution from America Votes, a nationwide progressive group.
In the meantime, guns and ammo keep flying off Colorado gun stores’ shelves. During the fiscal quarter when the Legislature took up and passed gun control, there were more than 146,000 background checks for gun sales in the State. A year earlier, there had been only 69,000.