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Herpin explains why it was ‘good thing’ Holmes had large ammo magazine

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DENVER -- Republican state Sen. Bernie Herpin raised the ire of an Aurora theater shooting victim's father when he claimed that it might have been "a good thing" that gunman James Holmes had a 100-round magazine when he opened fire and, ultimately, killed 12 people.

Herpin, who was elected last September to replace former Senate President John Morse in a recall election over the Democratic gun control measures, made the comments during a hearing for legislation that would overturn the new ban on magazines of 15-rounds or more.

Democrats in the House already voted down a proposal to repeal that law on Monday; Herpin's separate bill, basically the exact same proposal, was being heard Wednesday by a Senate committee, also certain to vote the measure down.

Republicans, hoping to sustain the outrage of gun owners that the legislation sparked a year ago as they head into election season, have made a point of pushing numerous bills this year aimed mostly at repealing those new laws.

With Democrats still in control of both the House and Senate, Republicans did so mostly for political purposes, knowing the bills themselves would be voted down.

On Tuesday, three times more gun control advocates than gun owners showed up to testify on a proposal to allow concealed carry in schools.

On top of three days spent watching Democrats demonstrate more public support against the GOP-sponsored proposals, Wednesday's hearing will be mostly marked by a lawmaker's comment that critics say was insensitive.

Herpin's statement happened when he was questioned by a Democratic senator on the committee. Click the "play" button below to hear his testimony Wednesday.

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"My understanding is that James Holmes bought his 100-round capacity magazine legally," said Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver. "So in fact, this law would have stopped James Holmes from purchasing a 100-round magazine.  I was wondering if you agree with me."

"Perhaps, James Holmes would not have been able to purchase a 100-round magazine," Herpin responded.

"As it turned out, that was maybe a good thing that he had a 100-round magazine, because it jammed. If he had four, five, six 15-round magazines, there's no telling how much damage he could have done until a good guy with a gun showed up."

Herpin was trying to say that larger magazines are less reliable, more prone to jamming up.

But Tom Sullivan, whose son, Alex, was among those killed in the Aurora theater shooting, took umbrage and made his outrage known when he went to the table to testify, doing so at the Capitol for a third straight day.

"I've had a lot of thoughts since July 20, 2012, but never once did I think anyone was better off because the shooter brought a hundred round drum into that theater," Sullivan said. "Alex never had a chance. He was watching a movie one second and the next he was dead. The fact is, if the shooter had to change his magazine that would have been a chance for Alex to survive."

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Sullivan went further after he addressed lawmakers, telling FOX31 Denver that he found Herpin's comments offensive.

"The lack of empathy and compassion is shocking," he said. "Not just to me and my family, but to all of the families who have lost loved ones to gun violence and to all the people of Colorado. But this is what he truly believes.

"To think this is the person who they brought in to replace John Morse."

While Sullivan steamed, Democratic staffers streamed out of the hearing room in disbelief.

"Thanks for giving us back your seat," one of them said, alluding to Herpin being up for reelection this fall.



  • Randall Flagg

    Well, he’s correct.
    A lot of those aftermarket magazines do have a habit of jamming. Which is why a lot of veteran firearms owners stick with what works: STANDARD capacity magazines (30 rounds)

    • Cheryl Moeller-Liniman

      The main FACT is that even if there was a “good guy with a gun” (which I’m sure there were, especially in those states) it would not have stopped the shootings. Let’s face it … the element of surprise ALWAYS gives the shooter enough time to kill at least a dozen people with these kinds of weapons. Too bad this dumb politician hadn’t gone to see a movie that day.

      • David Wayne Steber

        Wrong, Cheryl, that was in a Gun Free Zone. That means that no good guys were allowed to have guns there. Try again. This time you failed miserably to make your point. But better yet, learn from your mistake and recognize the plain simple fact that Gun Free Zones are Murder Magnets.

      • William Carr

        @David Wayne Steber:

        Gun Free Zones don’t affect cops, simpleton.

        They’re the “good guys” that are allowed to have guns, and they have the training to use them properly.

        The myth that criminals are attracted to Gun Free Zones is easily debunked.

        The majority of mass shootings are murder-suicides. The killer isn’t looking for a “safe” place to kill people, he’s just looking for victims.

        He kills his victims, and then offs himself to escape, or shoots it out when the cops arrive.

        Then there are the shootings at the workplace. They have nothing to do with whether guns are allowed or not, but where the victims of the killer’s rage are.

      • bulletstop100

        Whelp then explain Arapahoe high school where a good guy with a gun stopped another liberal that was butt hurt, from killing a bunch of innocents, in 80 seconds. Fact is the mag jammed and he did not have the experience to clear the jam so that saved lives. I doubt any of you folks have any experience with firearms and all you are doing is saying how you feel. Typical libtard thinking. Also explain why gun free zones are the most dangerous places in America.

      • smanuel727

        I’ve been reading all of this – I think everyone has lost sight of the WHOLE point. This is America – a free country! Freedom also means responsibility – get out there, get the real facts and make an informed decision before you vote. Don’t just believe what you read – actually go and find out. NEXT – why is our government trying so hard to eliminate our freedoms??? Because you may be all for getting rid of magazines, guns, etc… but what is the next freedom that will be taken? Freedom of speech – which we are all enjoying right here? How about freedom of religion – whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist – what do you want to lose first after guns? Let’s be realistic, ANY FREEDOM LOST IS JUST THE BEGINNING!!! We as a nation need to step back, rethink things and start being responsible. Personally, my personal opinion about guns is irrelevant. I will not state my stand right here about weapons because my point would be totally overlooked!!! Because people want their own opinions to become laws, they are forgetting what the chain reaction will be. Look around – it is just the beginning of the end of the country that my ancestors as well as many of you on here’s ancestors fought so hard to be proud of!!! What would they all say if they could see the shape of this country right now??? Let’s take our stand – together and protect ALL OF OUR FREEDOMS from being taken by any government, including our own!!!

    • Mike in Va. (@MikeVa1)

      He fired 45 rounds before it jammed! 45. 45. 45. This mix of the banks, Wall Street, the gun industry, and their fringe of radicals is pathetic. Every week is a mass of negligent discharges and every week some bank and their New York banker counts their cash on top of the dead bodies. And this what we’ve got, a bought politician to keep the blood money flowing.

      • Codswallop Hogwash

        Get a life, Mike.
        You are living in the slime of Socialist propaganda. And like most Democrats, you a fantasist and an objectionist.
        Try to find out about the REAL world before mouthing off.

    • ory

      Don’t lose track of the goal here, it is important to disarm victims so that in the future they will be umm… well anyway I’m sure the next guy who decides he wants to die and take a bunch of people with him will comply with the law and only use small magazines, you would hate to get in to serious trouble with the law while planning your massacre.

  • T Adrs

    LOL Large cap mags only jam up under the weight of all the bullets and make the gun heavy and hard to manage.

    You see all the cops and military using them…. right??? All the special forces use them…. LOL NOT!

    But don’t worry Liberals and other Armophobes, even if you can’t wrap your head around that, after all the big mags are “shot up” there wouldn’t be any more to purchase, so you will be safe. Right Ms. DeGette?

    • Randall Flagg

      T Adrs:
      “LOL Large cap mags only jam up under the weight of all the bullets and make the gun heavy and hard to manage.

      You see all the cops and military using them…. right??? All the special forces use them…. LOL NOT!

      But don’t worry Liberals and other Armophobes, even if you can’t wrap your head around that, after all the big mags are “shot up” there wouldn’t be any more to purchase, so you will be safe. Right Ms. DeGette?”

      You nailed it.
      BTW, What’s, “Armophobes?”
      I’m familiar with hoplophobes, but not that one.

  • Tom Sanders

    It’s irrelevant what he said……you either believe somehow having limits on magazine size would make a difference or not….there is no proof it would have made a difference in the last 10 shootings…you can’t argue with facts…so you carry 3 guns with 10 rounds each….it’s nothing but illogical feel good nonsense laws that don’t change anything…show me proof how magazine size would have made any difference in say the last 5 shootings.

  • Codswallop Hogwash

    Stop trying to make hay out of this, you Left Wing idiots. His whole point was that a smaller magazine might have not jammed.
    And do you have any idea at all how quickly an empty magazine can be replaced by a full one?
    About ONE second if you are competent for a 15 round magazine.
    The size of the magazine is not an issue.
    The issue here is the failure of our governments to identify and treat people who have severe mental problems.

  • John Oravez

    Just wait until they try to push things like Bullet Buttons on us… Or fixed mags…. Think that is crazy? Think again…. As a firearms dealer I can tell you that the comment about 100 round mags jamming does hold some truth. Those mags aka the Beta mag do tend to have a LOT more problems vs a standard 20rd GI mag (Yes the AR was designed to use a 20rd mag from day one). You can hold 2 20RD mags in the same space as a single 30rd mag and yes changing them out can be done REALLY quickly. A large cumbersome Beta mag on the other hand in heavy and awkward and takes some time to operate correctly. Truth be told if I was in a fire fight I would want 20RD AR mags and not the Beta or even the Pmag (30rd) for that matter. Considering the 15 round limit most mag companies are converting mags from 20rd to 15rd.. Yup, the most reliable mag of all time for the AR15 has been FORCED into use because of these laws.

    I don’t have a problem with ANY well thought out law that has been put to a vote by the people. What I have a problem with is feel good measures that tend to change the dynamic for the worse. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people make comments about driving to Wyoming to buy 30+ round mags. These are the same people who already have a bunch of them on hand. Why are they doing this? Because for each mag they buy and bring back to Colorado it is a slap in the face of the elected officials who passed a law with ZERO firearms knowledge. I would guess we have more 30RD mags in Colorado today vs any other time in the history of the state. We also have more high performance firearms in the state as well because of people who react to the fear of what new law might come from these same elected officials.

    Look, I can build a gun in my living room out of the most basic parts with very little specific knowledge. Once to prove a point I built and fired a .22 handgun using a wooden block, a section of steel brake line and some rubber bands and a screw. No matter what laws you pass it will do NOTHING to stop mass shootings. NOTHING. Think a gun free zone keeps you safe? Think again, bad guys don’t care if it is a gun free zone. Think teachers are not already starting to carry guns? Think again, teachers are already starting to carry firearms in schools. That’s right today we do have some teachers who are armed. They don’t brag, they don’t reveal, they don’t tell anyone. Personally I have no problem with this. If a shootout goes down you can call 911 and wait and try to hide. Or you can stand your ground and fight back. Sure innocent people may get hurt or killed but I would guess that the number of deaths would be reduced.

    Does anyone really think that an armed teacher is going to bring violence into the school? Violence is already here, all around us each and every day.

    The ONLY way to stop evil is with force, that is the nature of evil, it is not going to just go away or get reduced because of laws passed by the good guys,

    Remember, when seconds count the police are only minutes away.

  • Pete Bonner

    I’m done with Fox 31!
    I’ve been a listener because I could not get Non-Partisan reporting of Denver news at Channel 9, well now Fox 31’s Eli Stokols has shown us that Fox 31 swings very Liberal too! Stokols has proven his political side. This was 100% partisan B.S! This story proves it!

  • David Wayne Steber

    You are a liar, William Urmson. The blood of everyone killed because the laws you support made them defenseless is on your hands. But being the grave dancer you are, that’s what you want, more blood.

  • Mike Jones

    wrong the US federal govt is the biggest terrorist group in the us, we all live in fear of the IRS, NSA, FDA, DHS… who really used the fear that the events of 9-11 caused, YOUR politicians!

  • Mike in Va. (@MikeVa1)

    He fired 45 rounds before it jammed! 45. 45. 45. This mix of the banks, Wall Street, the gun industry, and their fringe of radicals is pathetic. Every week is a mass of negligent discharges and every week some bank and their New York banker counts their cash on top of the dead bodies. And this is what we’ve got, a bought politician to keep the blood money flowing.

  • southorangecounty

    Mr. Hogwash claimed: “If you knew the first thing about the NRA, you would know that the major plank of that organization is the SAFE use of guns, combined with training on their safe use.”

    That is utter gun thug hogwash! You must be reading 1960’s NRA propaganda.

    It’s a KNOWN fact that the current version of the NRA has only ONE purpose, and that is to accept millions of dollars of “donations” from gun and ammo manufacturers, as payment for the NRA’s protection of those company’s profits.

    Gun and ammo manufacturers increasing PROFITS is the sole purpose of today’s NRA.

  • Chris Fischer

    I’m glad the liberal bed wetters think that criminals have morals or follow laws. All these dumb laws do is make a law abiding individual at a disadvantage because criminals have no regard for the law in the first place. You going to slap them on the wrist with an added 30 day jail sentence for a misdemeanor charge after they already have life in prison? Is there some new way to track the manufacture date on a magazine now? Pretty sure they are going to find their way into colorado regardless of what the dems say since it’s not a national prohibition. All these jerks are doing is wasting our tax dollars to chip away at the constitution. I also see Eric Holder wants to restore voting rights for felons… why not give them back gun rights too? How about you idiots set a precedence with some of this… either you have full rights under the constitution, or you lose them… but pic one and don’t pick and choose to suit your pathetic agendas.

  • Matt Arnold

    Does KDVR have an ethics ombudsman?

    Clearly, Stokols taking Herpin’s quote so grossly out of context qualifies as a breach of journalistic ethics and integrity – or is that an oxymoron?

    Stokols should be fired or, at a minimum, censured.

  • Common Cents

    Although what he said may be factual, he could have gone into more detail and worded the references to Holmes much better.

    Another day, another repub seemingly putting their foot in their mouth on endless soundbytes.



  • ory

    What Herpin said here was 100% true, but is being deliberately misconstrued to be some king of insensitive statement. With the most basic firearms training you have to agree with him. You should be much more worried about someone coming at you with five 15 round magazines than a single 100. The facts of the situation is that the 100 did jam in this situation, and that they often do. So all he said was, you were lucky the shooter was lacking in knowledge enough to buy a poor device. The fact that a (perhaps justifiably) bitter man decides to interpret it as insensitive should not make us blind to the legitimacy of the statement.

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