“This thing works,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said in praise of the tough gun legislation he signed into law last month. But the governor is a recent convert on the merits of legislation.
Hickenlooper, a Democrat, upset some people in his party for not taking a strong position on gun policy in the past. After the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., last summer, he said that stricter gun laws would not have prevented James Holmes from killing 12 people. Touring his state helped change his mind, the governor said Wednesday morning on The Daily Rundown.
“As I talked to people around the state I also heard that–Democrats, Republicans, independents–when you talked about universal background checks, almost everyone supported it,” he explained.
The Colorado measures, effective July 1, set ammunition magazine limits to 15 rounds and eight shot gun shells, and expand background checks on firearms to sales and transfers between private parties and online purchases.
In 2012, 38 people who were accused or convicted of homicides applied for gun ownership in Colorado. In addition, 600 burglars, 1,300 people who committed felonies, and 400 people who had restraining orders from a judge also tried to buy guns.
President Obama travels to Hickenlooper’s state Wednesday in an attempt to renew momentum for a federal gun bill.
“We couldn’t get any Republicans to support the bills, and yet when I would go out around the state, Republicans everywhere would come up and say, ‘You know, universal background checks, that makes sense, as long as you keep it inexpensive and make sure there isn’t a centralized database. I’ll support that,’” the governor added, noting the partisan divide on the issue.
A recent Morning Joe/Marist poll found that 60% of Americans—83% of Democrats, 43% of gun owners, and 37% of Republicans—support stricter gun laws.