As the Colorado General Assembly moves to become the second state to adopt gun control legislation since the Newtown tragedy, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund has set its sights on recalling the president of the State Senate and at least two other legislators, prominent proponents in the state's pending gun control efforts.
In mid-January, the New York State Assembly moved quickly to approve the country's most stringent gun control legislation barely one month after the Newtown tragedy, including limits on assault weapons, mental health requirements and ammunition magazines. Barely one month after the Newton tragedy, New York efforts occurred so swiftly as to preclude effective opposition with Governor Andrew Cuomo signing the legislation one hour after passage.
In what may be a warning to other state legislators across the country and even members of Congress acting on similar legislation, the BFDF, a tax-exempt organization based in Durango, Colo. has begun circulating petitions against one state representative as local affiliates of BFDF has formed a committee to unseat State Senate President John Morse (D, Colorado Springs) and Senator Edie Hudak (D, Denver). Each petition drive will need 25 percent of last year's presidential vote to qualify for a recall ballot initiative.
After recent testimony before the Colorado House Judiciary Committee by Mark Kelly, former astronaut and former Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford's husband, Colorado's legislative package includes prohibiting gun ownership to individuals with domestic violence convictions, a limit on ammunition magazines to 15 rounds, requirement for gun owners to pay for background checks, an expanded background check process and required training to receive a concealed weapon permit.
Home of the Columbine attack in 1999 and the Aurora Theatre shooting last year, Anthony Garcia, who is organizing the petition effort on behalf of the BFDF, said that the gun control efforts were 'an affront to the second amendment, an affront to the Constitution."
With a Democratic majority (23-12), Kjersten Forseth, assistant to Senator Morse, confirmed that the Senate had finalized their legislative efforts on Monday evening, approving all five bills with the required fee legislation on the way to Governor Hickenlooper's (D) desk for signature. According to Forseth, the other four bills go back to the State House (with a 39-26 Democratic majority) for approval and then onto the governor. In a sign of desperation, Republicans have promised to filibuster final passage.
Senator Morse, a strong supporter of the gun control package said "I wasn't expecting things to get this divisive. I really thought that after Sandy Hook that even the NRA recognized we've got to do something." Commenting on the effort to recall him, Morse added "that's why politicians around the country don't want to stand up for this issue." Morse said he is willing to accept whatever the public decides but that he "will not back down."