Gun control: John Hickenlooper calls for debate following Newtown school shooting

Hickenlooper said he had reached out to Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy to offer support -- though he said he recognized there's not much that can be done.

John Hickenlooper, reporters.JPG
Sam Levin
John Hickenlooper talks to reporters on his way out from the event.
"I'm gonna guess the one thing he would ask for is for us not to ramp up the debate right when he's...trying to work through the emotional issues of dozens and dozens...of families," Hickenlooper said.

The governor struggled to articulate how he thinks the school shooting should influence gun control conversations.

"We'll have plenty of time to discuss. I can't, I can't put into words how impossible it seems to me that this could happen again, so suddenly, so rapidly, and it is disconcerting," Hickenlooper continued. "Again, there's enough of a controversy out there and enough information to assimilate that I'm, you know, this is one of those things that I'm still upset enough about it just hearing about Connecticut that I haven't even been able to formulate my words."

One reporter asked, if tragedies keep happening, how can the discussion continually be postponed?

"I think that's a legitimate question. That's a fair point," he said.

Pressed on specifics -- if there are any proposals he will support in the upcoming cycle -- Hickenlooper didn't have anything concrete to say. (We reported last week on one proposal to ban guns from college buildings).

"I haven't seen a specific bill yet, not one," he said. "And I do think that part of the creation of the bill is part of that discussion. As you put ideas out on the table and try to work them into a law, you draw upon a reservoir of facts of information.... When I talked to a number of people on different sides of the issues...not everyone has the same factual basis. And I think that's one of our first steps.... As different laws are put forward, let's make sure everyone is using the same information."

Asked again about whether the nation can keep delaying the discussion, the governor interrupted the questioner, saying, "You have a shooting every two weeks, do you just never discuss it? No, I think that's a fair point."

He continued, "I can guarantee you, you're going to see ideas on both sides."

The governor noted that Colorado will likely hear arguments that more guns will reduce this kind of crime, because armed people can defend themselves against mass murderers and limit casualties.

"You're gonna hear every color under the spectrum over the next few months," he said. "And I think you're right, I think we can't postpone the discussion on a national level every time there's a shooting."

When a reporter said he would be asking about a different topic, the governor muttered, "Thank you."

Still, Hickenlooper was bombarded by reporters again on his way out, forcing him to respond to more gun questions and the Connecticut tragedy.

Can new legislation actually help reduce the chances of another Aurora or Newtown?

"If you don't start at some point, will you ever have an effect?" Hickenlooper said. "Now...that's not necessarily talking about gun violence. it might be talking about, how do we address people that have mental illness, making sure they don't have easy access to weapons?"

Before walking out of the lobby with his aides, Hickenlooper added about the Connecticut tragedy, "It's incomprehensible. When it first became clear this was a major event, my eyes just filled up.... And I'm sure that's happening to people all over Colorado. We've been through this."

More from our Politics archive: "Aurora's Steve Hogan: Why didn't he join anti-illegal gun mayors group after theater shooting?"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at

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for donkeyhotay yes someone could bring two magazines. but then he/she would have to reload. and if the person had a second gun he would have to put down the first gun at which point someone could seize him/her


Have you ever lost your temper and done something you really regret? Do you own a gun?

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

The Right of Mentally Unbalanced Homicidal Maniacs to Keep and Bear Arms Shall NOT Be Infringed!


The discussion about gun-control needs to start? I'm pretty sure we have been discussing it for over 100 years. We banned this, then we banned that, yet gun-free zones were still the target for under-aged kids using banned weapons at Columbine. How much more discussion do we need before we admit gun-control doesn't work? I realize it's easier to blame guns instead of how we raise our children, but it's not working, and the continued discussion is like trying to put an old, worn out band-aid over a wound that just wont stick.


Let them keep their guns. Outlaw the sale or owning or manufacturing of large capacity clips. Not the best answer but might have a chance of getting through the NRA block.

Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

@Monkey the discussion goes like this: 

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@robertweller  ... because someone couldn't bring 2 or more magazines ... or 2 or more guns to the scene of their planned murderous rampage, eh?

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