DENVER — House Republicans are not satisfied with an apology Monday from Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar, who said Friday that women on college campuses shouldn’t be trusted with firearms to protect themselves because they might fire carelessly upon feeling threatened.
On Tuesday morning, House Republicans issued a press release asking Gov. John Hickenlooper and Speaker Mark Ferrandino to “condemn” Salazar’s comment.
“Questioning a woman’s judgment over whether or not she is about to be raped is insensitive and insulting to women everywhere,” said Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Littleton, in the statement emailed to reporters Tuesday.
“No matter what sort of policy position you’re trying to advance, questioning the rational ability of women to perceive threats around them is something Democrat leaders should condemn.”
Salazar, D-Thornoton, issued a formal apology Monday after his statement during Friday’s debate over a concealed weapons ban on college campuses drew the ire of conservatives across the blogosphere after a video of his comments gathered steam online.
On Tuesday, Salazar answered more questions from FOX31 and admitted that his words were “inartful” and “unclear.”
“I deeply apologize for how people have taken the statement,” he said. “It’s not reflective of the point I wanted to make.”
“I certainly know that women know how to defend themselves and know how to discern a threat. I was trying to explain that more guns on campus doesn’t mean that campuses are any safer. I used a really bad example and I apologize for it.”
In arguing in favor of the ban, Salazar, D-Thornton, said Friday that women on college campuses don’t need guns to feel that they’re safe.
“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles,” Salazar said on the House floor. “Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop around at somebody.”
On the floor, House Republican woman were quick to respond.
“I’m sorry, a whistle and a call box are not going to help that woman on campus,” said Lawrence, who also took issue with Salazar’s notion “that women don’t know when we’re going to be raped, that [women] can’t recognize when there’s an inherent danger?”
One of them, Rep. Lori Saine, R-Dacono, apologized to Salazar after he returned to the well and denied that he’d implied that women don’t know when they’re being raped.
“My daughter’s going to be going off to college in about 10 years,” Saine said. “I can’t imagine her only option’s going to be to outrun her attacker to a call box. I think she’s going to be responsible enough to handle a gun.
“And I apologize to Rep. Salazar if you said that. But that was something I understood you said, so I apologize.”
Saturday night, 24 hours after the debate itself, Minority Leader Mark Waller lauded Lawrence on Twitter for “standing up for women”, re-tweeting her own tweet that said, “@HouseSalazar says women on campus may not know when they’re being raped.”
Waller’s tweet got Salazar’s attention; and he shot back, “@Rep_Waller thanks for playing politics with words I never spoke! Class act!”
The House Republican minority never issued a press release about Salazar’s statement.
But that didn’t stop conservative bloggers Monday, namely Dana Loesch on RedState.com, from seizing on a video of Salazar posted by Revealing Politics, and drawing attention to what they framed as the “real war on women.”
Salazar responded by issuing a statement to FOX31 Denver.
“I’m sorry if I offended anyone. That was absolutely not my intention,” Salazar said. “We were having a public policy debate on whether or not guns makes people safer on campus. I don’t believe they do. That was the point I was trying to make. If anyone thinks I’m not sensitive to the dangers women face, they’re wrong.
“I am a husband and father of two beautiful girls, and I’ve spent the last decade defending women’s rights as a civil rights attorney. Again, I’m deeply sorry if I offended anyone with my comments.”
But, to some Republicans, Salazar’s apology didn’t ring true.
‘I’m sorry if you were offended’ isn’t an apology; it’s a line in the sand,” said Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock. “Democrats place more faith in a criminal’s respect of a ‘safe zone,’ than they do in law-abiding women’s discretion to defend themselves.
“Cloaking their position by painting women as overly emotional and reactive is an outrageous tactic that should have every woman in Colorado calling on the Governor and the Speaker to condemn, as I am now.”
Speaker Mark Ferrandino has said that he’s glad Salazar has apologized and also that Republicans are purposefully taking his comments out of context.