In late March, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed one of the nation’s toughest gun laws following the Sandy Hook and Aurora movie theater shootings. But voters opposed to the law—which requires background checks for private and online gun sales and limits magazine sizes to 15-rounds—are striking back.
Democratic state Senator John Morse, who represents a historically conservative Colorado Springs district, is facing a recall election due to his support for the gun control measure.
Organizers gathered more than twice the number of signatures needed to force a special election in Morse's district, The Denver Post reported Tuesday.
Of the four Democratic candidates that could be targeted for recall, Morse’s was always considered “the easiest” due to the small number of petition signatures needed to push the recall (7, 178 signatures to represent 25% of votes cast in the district during the last election).
Morse, who is the Senate president, has two options: resign or face the recall election to keep his seat. If Morse were to resign, Democrats would keep his seat and the appointed legislator would finish the rest of his term. Signs, however, point to the latter option of facing the recall.
The recall election could happen sometime in early September.
Morse is the first state lawmaker in Colorado to be subject to a recall vote—nationally he is only the fifth to face such a vote.
A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, Rich Coolidge, said that each signature on the recall petition must be verified in order to proceed. Results are expected next week after which the Morse camp has 15 days to legally challenge the results.
The NRA is already involved in the push for recall, and it is expected that Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns will get involved on Morse’s behalf.
“If this ends up on the ballot, I do think this turns into a race of national importance," Morse said.