Two Colorado state senators, both Democrats, were ousted by voters Tuesday, apparently because the legislators were pushing gun control initiatives. The recall effort is seen as a major victory for gun rights activists.
For the first time in Colorado history, Republicans petitioned for a recall to remove State Senators John Morse and Agnela Giron before they had completed their terms, Reuters reports. Morse and Giron both pushed for legislation that would have banned ammunition magazines with more than 15 rounds and required background checks for all private gun sales. The gun control push was motivated by a series of deadly shootings in the state, including the massacre at the Aurora movie theater last year.
Polls taken before the vote suggested that many Colorado voters considered a recall to be an inappropriate response to a policy dispute; according to one, 60% of Colorado voters said that constituents should wait till re-election to unseat a legislator. Donors from around the country, including New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, contributed to the anti-recall coalition.
But it appears that the $3 million raised to oppose the recall may have fueled the gun rights campaign. Bernie Herpin, the Republican who unseated Morse, told Reuters, “In Colorado, we don’t need some New York billionaire telling us what size soft drinks we can have, how much salt to put on our food, or the size of the ammunition magazines on our guns.”