Colorado’s new gun law drives four recall efforts

Update: The “A Whole Lot of People for John Morse” committee gets slightly bigger than six people. Update at the bottom.

As Colorado lawmakers entered the last frenzied 72 hours of the legislative session — 90 bills were still on the docket when the legislature was called to order Monday morning — four state politicians are facing efforts to recall them from office.

Recall drives are in full swing against Senate Democrats John Morse, Evie Hudak and Angela Giron as well as Democratic Rep. Mike McLachlan.

Citizens groups angry about these lawmakers’ stances on gun control are collecting signatures to try and force a special election. To make the ballot, they must collect a number of signatures equal to 25 percent of the total vote in their districts.

Colorado has passed tough gun laws from its Democratic-controlled legislature in recent months, resulting in heated debate, numerous protests and even death threats against some lawmakers.

In March, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law measures that ban magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, mandate universal background checks for all firearms transfers and require gun buyers to pay for those checks.

Two other bills — one which prohibits gun ownership by people who have committed domestic violence and one requiring face-to-face instruction for concealed carry permits — are expected to be signed into law.

Morse, the state Senate president, introduced what was arguably the most controversial gun control proposal of the session, one that would have held owners, sellers and manufacturers of assault-style weapons liable for any damage resulting from their use. Opponents said it amounted to a de facto ban on such weapons.

During a heated, late-night debate on a slate of gun proposals, Morse killed the bill when it became clear it didn’t have enough votes to get out of the Senate.

Democrats in Morse’s El Paso County district formed an issue committee — called “A Whole Lot of People for John Morse” — to fight the recall effort, which needs only 7,178 signatures to qualify.

The most recent filing available on the Colorado secretary of state’s website shows that A Whole Lot of People has collected contributions from six people.