John Hickenlooper on Gun Control

Democratic Presidential Challenger (withdrew, Aug. 2019); CO Governor


Fundamental nonsense of government: Washington can't act

This is the fundamental nonsense of government, where, despite our best efforts, we can't seem to make any progress. When I went to the movie theater in Aurora in 2012 and saw that footage of what happened at that crime scene, I'll never forget it. We decided that we were going to go out and take on the NRA, and we passed universal background checks. We limited magazine capacity. We did the basic work that for whatever reason doesn't seem to be able to get done in Washington.
Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Guns make you less safe, not more

Democrats have largely converged on a moderate, consensus view of gun control; we wanted to get at a deeper question of values--so we asked "In an ideal world, would anyone own handguns?" Some answers:
Source: 2019 "Meet the Candidates" (NY Times.com) , Jun 18, 2019

Ban on high-capacity magazines

Signed legislation to require background checks for all gun sales and a ban on high-capacity magazines.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Mar 26, 2019

Mental illness & weak gun laws both contribute to violence

On gun control: We made two decisions. One was we were going to begin to address mental health. In that next legislative session, we made the largest increase in mental health spending ever, $30 million a year. We also decided we'd take on universal background checks and the issues around large-capacity magazines. And it was a tough battle: If you work hard enough and listen hard enough you should be able to find compromise on almost everything. But the NRA would not listen to reason. In the end we not only passed universal background checks, but we also passed high-capacity magazine limits for the first time in a Western purple state.
Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 20, 2019

School shootings weaken country by terrorizing ourselves

Q [to Hickenlooper and Kasich together]: Your reflections on the school shooting in Florida?

Gov. John HICKENLOOPER (D-CO): We're at the point where we're allowing ourselves to be terrorized by ourselves. If you wanted to weaken this country, what better way to do it than to make children afraid to go to school? And it's not just schools; it's churches; it's listening to a country music concert; it's all the places that we create community are now being threatened by our inability to deal with this.

Gov. John KASICH (R-OH): What I've asked people to do is you've got to search your heart on this: this is not about who's got political power; this is not about campaign contributions; this is about how you want to look in the mirror and think about what you'd do when you were in. Nobody wants to take everybody's guns away, nobody wants to repeal the second amendment, oh a few people, but this is about reasonable approaches to keep our community safe.

Source: ABC This Week 2018 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Feb 25, 2018

Make mental health part of discussion on mass killings

After the massacre in Aurora, I appeared on NBC's Meet the Press I said:

"I think that [gun control] debate's going to happen. It has already started. But you look at this person, again, almost a creature, if he couldn't have gotten access to guns, what kind of bomb he would have manufactured? We're at a time, an information age, where there's access to all kinds of information... I think he was almost a terrorist that wanted to take away not just from the people here, but from the country, our ability to enjoy life, to go to a movie theater. Which for most of us is a refuge where we can get away from the pressures of life. It's a human issue. How are we not able to identify someone like this who is so deeply, deeply disturbed?"

Source: Meet the Press 2012-2013 in "The Opposite of Woe," p.300 , May 24, 2016

Universal background checks for all gun sales

[After A 2012 mass shooting] I noted that our history of addressing difficult problems together made it possible to discuss gun violence and mental health. Not one or the other. Both.

Then we got to it.

"Let me prime the pump: Why not have universal background checks for all gun sales? . Surely, Second Amendment advocates and gun control supporters can find common ground in support of this proposition: Let's examine our laws and make the changes needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

"It's not enough to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons. We have to do a better job of identifying and helping people who are a threat to themselves and others. That is why we are requesting your support for a comprehensive overhaul of our state's mental health system."

Source: The Opposite of Woe, by John Hickenlooper, p.304-5 , May 24, 2016

Develop a program to reduce suicides by gun

Since 2012 auto fatalities have dropped to near-historic lows because we prioritized and put resources behind education and safety programs. We need to put the same effort into increasing awareness of the links between mental health, suicide, and guns. We're partnering with gun shops, firing ranges and firearm safety instructors on a pilot program to make sure suicide prevention is part of the conversation when addressing gun safety and education.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to Colorado legislature , Jan 14, 2016

CO cares about 2nd Amendment, but also safe communities

Q: The Arapahoe High School shooting happened eight miles from Columbine, where we had another of these awful shootings. Is there any connection here?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, we don't think so. Some people have suggested perhaps there's a copycat element to this. But he bought the gun legally; then he bought a large amount of ammunition. Having had these episodes in the past, we do have strategies and protocols in place, where we had a deputy sheriff who was there within a minute of the first shots.

Q: You had two state legislators who were recalled from office because they led the effort to tighten gun laws out there. Where do you see this going?

HICKENLOOPER: Two things that Coloradoans deeply care about is the protection of their Second Amendment rights, but they also care deeply about making their community safer. Things like universal background checks, I think they are going to make us safer. But in this specific case, it's not going to make a difference at all.

Source: Face the Nation 2013. on 2014 Colorado gubernatorial race , Dec 15, 2013

Universal background checks & ban on high capacity magazines

Tancredo said his choice to run against Hickenlooper again was partially to do with the governor's push for new gun control laws. Hickenlooper's popularity has slipped in recent months, arguably due to controversial legislation he signed into law that Democratic lawmakers passed in the statehouse including universal background checks on all firearm sales and transfers and a ban on high capacity magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

However it's difficult to say with certainty just how much the state's strict new gun control laws play into voters' feelings on Hickenlooper. In early 2013 polling, Colorado voters overwhelmingly favored universal background check legislation and a strong majority supported a ban on high capacity magazines which hold more than 10 rounds.

Source: Huffington Post on 2014 Colorado Governor race , Dec 6, 2013

State Senate "Line item recall" about too-strict gun control

Q: Two Democrats in the state Senate were recalled over their support for further gun control regulation in Colorado. What are we to make of that on the national scale?

HICKENLOOPER: Definitely what we called this was a "line item recall." I'm not sure it has a national message or even a statewide message.

Q: Is there unease with the broader Democratic social agenda?

HICKENLOOPER: No. I saw most of the campaign literature in both of those recall campaigns. To the vast majority, it was very specific about universal background checks, high capacity magazines.

Q: NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg heads up a mayor's group that is pushing for more gun control. He sunk a lot of money into trying to save these two Democratic state senators. Was it helpful?

HICKENLOOPER: In Colorado, like a lot of western states, we like to solve our own problems with our own people. So, there is a certain resentment when any outside money whether it's from Bloomberg or from National Rifle Association.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Colorado gubernatorial race , Sep 15, 2013

Universal background checks but no assault weapon ban

Q: The gun legislation that you signed this week in Colorado, a hunting state, has been described as one of the toughest gun laws in the country, and yet, you didn't include semi-assault weapons ban at all.

HICKENLOOPER: After the shootings last summer in the movie theater, we really focused on mental health first then universal background checks. Colorado is a state where we have a long tradition of a relationship with guns and hunting and that traditional approach from father to child. So we tried to tighten up a little bit things like universal background checks which clearly make a significant difference, that's where we put our initial focus.

Q: Do you think that the Congress is wrong not to go after an assault weapons ban?

HICKENLOOPER: I think the feeling right now around assault weapons at least in Colorado is that they're so hard to define what an assault weapon is. There's a lot of questions whether the federal ban made a difference. It's a tough sell.

Source: CNN SOTU 2013 interview on 2014 Colorado gubernatorial race , Mar 24, 2013

Keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill

Keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill There are no easy solutions to addressing the difficult problem of gun violence and mental health. Some point to guns, others to a violent culture. Still others believe that the line between community security and individual freedom must be re-drawn.

Keep guns out of the hands of mentally ill can find common ground in support of this proposition: Let's examine our laws and make the changes needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. It's not enough to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons. We have to do a better

Source: 2013 Colorado State of the State address , Jan 10, 2013

Other candidates on Gun Control: John Hickenlooper on other issues:
2020 Presidential Democratic Primary Candidates:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 GOP and Independent Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (Libertarian-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich (R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
CEO Howard Schultz (I-WA)
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
V.C.Arvin Vohra (Libertarian-MD)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld (L-NY,R-MA)
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2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
State Rep.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)

Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019