Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper attempted to clarify his candid statements that Colorado’s gun laws were passed without “basic facts” by telling Denver’s Fox 31 that he wasn’t aware he was being filmed.
The comments baffled people on both sides of the issue, with Hickenlooper giving the impression that he was disengaged from the debate and passed laws based on the promises of staffers.
In a videotape of his comments, Hickenlooper tells Colorado sheriffs that a new law requiring universal background checks became law before all the “basic facts” about its impacts were known.
“I think we screwed that up completely,” he said, adding that he wasn’t aware the sheriffs — almost all of whom are opposed to the new laws — attempted to speak with him about the bills while they were being debated.
And he said that he signed a law limiting the capacity of firearms magazines to 15 rounds because a staff member — whom Hickenlooper didn’t identify — promised that he would.
In an interview late last week with Fox 31, Hickenlooper said he didn’t realize his comments were being filmed and said, “I tried to give them honest, unscripted, candid answers.”
In the videotape, Hickenlooper said he “wouldn’t argue” with a sheriff who called the law “a worthless piece of legislation.”
But in comments to Fox 31, he said he would sign the bill again.
“I didn’t say it’s unenforceable, I said it’s difficult to enforce,” Hickenlooper told the station. “A lot of laws are difficult to enforce; that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be there. If we went through the process again, I’d sign it again.”
He wrongly told the sheriffs that hadn’t spoken about the gun control bills with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg when it had already been widely reported that he had, based on phone records obtained by Complete Colorado.
A Hickenlooper spokesman told the Denver Post that the governor misspoke on that point.
“I talked to Bloomberg, but it was after we already made the decision [to sign the magazine limit bill],” Hickenlooper told Fox 31. “He didn’t call and lobby me or have any influence on the decision I made about the bill. That’s what I was trying to get across.”
He also said he wasn’t pressured to sign the bill because a staff member had made promises that he would, despite what he told the sheriffs.
He also apologized to the victims of gun violence for giving the impression that he regretted signing the new laws.
“I didn’t know that this was public, that this was going to be recorded,” Hickenlooper said. “If any of those families — if I caused them any offense, I certainly regret that.”
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