Five months after a gunman opened fire on a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper says “the time is right” to talk about gun control.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, dramatically shifted his position on gun laws and confirmed he plans open the debate on gun control in the state legislature come January.
“I wanted to have at least a couple of months off after the shooting in Aurora to let people process and grieve and get a little space, but it is, I think, now is the time is right,” he said.
Hickenlooper has been cagey on the topic of gun control until now, even after the Aurora massacre this summer that left 12 people dead and another 70 wounded. He dodged most questions about gun legislation following the tragedy, and said that stricter laws were not likely to stop violence. “I don’t think there’s any way in a free society to be able to” stop someone like the Aurora shooter from building an arsenal, Hickenlooper said on CNN in July.
Hickenlooper’s change in tone on tighter gun laws comes as gun violence continue to make headlines. Just this week, a gunman shot two people in an Oregon mall before taking his own life; two weeks earlier, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his baby daughter and then shot himself.
“When you look at what happened in Aurora, a great deal of that damage was from the large magazine on the AR-15 [rifle],” Hickenlooper told AP. “I think we need to have that discussion and say, `Where is this appropriate?’”