Colorado’s Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), who signed his state’s 15-round magazine limit into law in 2013, is trying to absolve himself of responsibility for his decision. This is the same politician who last year claimed that the banned magazines “have the potential to turn killers into killing machines.”
On Wednesday, the Denver Post reported that Hickenlooper is now insisting that he signed the legislation only because “one of my staff had committed us to signing it.” He added, “no one in our office thought it would get through the legislature.”
With the story developing, Fox News reported yesterday that during a meeting with Colorado sheriffs, Hickenlooper went so far as to blame his staff for not anticipating public opposition to gun control. He also faulted his aids’ inability to effectively communicate with the public.
Even fellow anti-gun Democrats aren’t buying it, though. Rep. Rhonda Fields, who sponsored the magazine ban in the state’s general assembly, denies Hickenlooper’s claim and says she was told just to “count votes.”
Digging himself deeper into a hole, Hickenlooper also claimed that he signed the magazine ban without knowing two key facts. First, that the state’s sheriffs opposed it. Second, that Coloradoans already owned an estimated 300,000 magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds. Colorado sheriffs have refused to enforce the new ban. Besides recognizing that it violates the Second Amendment, they note that newly-manufactured magazines, which are prohibited, are indistinguishable from those owned before the law took effect, which are exempt.
Compounding Hickenlooper’s self-inflicted predicament, there’s evidence that he didn’t tell the truth when he claimed that he didn’t consult with anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg before signing the magazine legislation and separate legislation to impose “universal” background checks on firearm transfers. So-called universal background checks are a known Bloomberg priority. The Post reported today, “phone records unveiled by a conservative blog revealed he (Hickenlooper) did speak with Bloomberg when the debates (over Colorado’s gun control bills) were at their peak.”
With gun control opponents and gun control supporters equally baffled by Hickenlooper’s unsteadiness, this may very well be one of those stories best closed with the words, “Stay tuned.”