Aurora shooting victim’s father taking Hickenlooper’s gun control comments in stride

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DENVER -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who spent much of the last year trying to move past 2013's divisive fight over tougher gun laws, has brought the issue back to the fore by trying to appease the sheriffs who are suing him to overturn the laws.

"It's what he always does and it's a quality that has often served him well, trying to work both sides, to please everyone," said political analyst Eric Sondermann Thursday. "But when there's no middle ground, trying to find that middle ground just ends up alienating people on both sides."

Last Friday during a meeting with a group of sheriffs in Aspen, Hickenlooper said that he didn't think the ban on high-capacity magazines would even pass and that, when it did, he was signed the bill into law partly because a staff member had promised the bill's sponsor that he would.

"Once you give your word, or someone who works for you gives your word for you — someone who has the responsibility and the ability to do that — generally you try not to go back on that," Hickenlooper said.

During the same meeting, Hickenlooper told the sheriffs that he'd never spoken with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, was a driving force behind Colorado's new gun laws, even though phone records had already proved that he did (his office later acknowledged that the governor misspoke in an effort to explain that Bloomberg didn't influence his decision to sign the bills into law).

While the family members of shooting victims who pushed hard to pass the magazine ban and another law expanding background checks to private gun sales and transfers were irritated by Hickenlooper's comments, they are taking the comments in stride.

"That seems to be the way politics is run out here in the west. They're all just trying to be good guys," Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was one of the 12 people killed in the July 2013 Aurora Theater shooting, told FOX31 Denver Thursday. "It's not the first time, probably not the last time we hear something like that from him.

"A lot of country bumpkins live out here. [Politicians] try to talk in terms everyone can understand. I'm not going to be offended, because we know what happened. And what happened is saving lives.

"We know that the high-capacity magazines [ban] has made a difference. The shooter walked into the movie theater with a 100-round drum and killed 12 and injured 58 more. That's not going to happen again. The shooter will have to change out."

Sullivan, who was part of a group that turned in letters to Aurora Congressman Mike Coffman Thursday urging congressional action on gun control, said that Father's Day last Sunday was difficult for him, but slightly easier knowing that some other father was likely spared the same kind of loss he experienced as a result of the new gun laws.

"There was a father who was able to enjoy the day as I wasn't able to with my son and that's because of the laws that have been enacted," Sullivan said.

Former Senate President John Morse, one of three Democrats ousted last year as part of a backlash to the gun laws, was more critical of Hickenlooper during an appearance Thursday night on MSNBC's The Last Word.

"His comments disappointed me because they were so disrespectful to the family members that worked so hard to get these common sense gun safety bills passed," Morse wrote later on his Facebook page. "They really believed that the governor stood with them in their fervent belief these bills helped make Coloradans safer from gun violence."

Morse took issue with Hickenlooper's characterization of the gun bill "dividing" the state and said that the group of sheriffs are elected officials who are simply pandering to their mostly rural constituents and that Hickenlooper was foolish to try and appease them.

"The Governor needs to be much more careful about thinking out loud in front of his enemies," Morse said.




  • Test

    “We know that the high-capacity magazines [ban] has made a difference.”
    Where is the proof? The 100 round magazine jammed, many of then do. A 100 round magazine is HUGE and heavy. Do you see the Army issuing 100 round magazines? There is a reason for that.

    • freeaquila

      I completely agree with TEST and GUS. Also… in my opinion, limiting the number of rounds in a magazine so “the shooter will have to change out” can lead to a more dangerous situation. The shooter is being forced into becoming more proficient with a firearm to carry out whatever horror they have planned by practicing the reload. As a CCW permit holder, I practice regularly and the last thing I would want is a more proficient shooter if I was in a situation where I’d have to defend myself and those around me.

  • Gus

    Mr. Sullivan, my heart goes out to you and to the other families who have suffered so much due to the actions of this madman. I respectfully disagree with you and the conclusions you’ve drawn from this tragedy. Blaming firearms for the loss of your son is tantamount to blaming Ford Motor Company for the loss of a loved one due to the actions of a drunk driver. In my opinion, you are focusing your energies in the wrong direction. Why not look at the use and effects of psychotropic drugs. It is, afterall, the common factor with ALL mass shooters.

  • Anonymous

    People making statements like “country bumpkins” tend to do so in order to convince themselves that they know best for the rest of us and rationalize their related desire to control others. The fact remains that he and the busy-body control freak legislators don’t have the moral authority to tell people (who haven’t harmed others) that they can’t own something that can be used responsibly, whether it’s a joint or a 30 rd. magazine, just because some misuse theirs.

    I am truly sorry for Sullivan’s loss.

  • Saxxon

    Sullivan is a greif stricken man played for a fool by the socialists pushing gun control. There was a pretty little vulture shepherding him and other family members of homicide victims, feeding off their greif to push these laws in the legislative hearings.

    He is entirely mistaken that this law has saved any lives, nor would save any lives more than jeopardize others. During the time between Sandy Hook and the inroduction of those bills, there were 10+ instances where over 10 rounds were fired in self defense – in a few months span. Compare that to the one time a shooter was disarmed in Arizona while changing a magazine (and his fat fingering it onto the ground was only a factor because he wasn’t shooting those nearest him first, but targetting the congresswoman, judge and staff).

    Sullivan et al would have us feel good about maybe saving 1-2 lives that might get away in the couple seconds during a magazine swap, vs the dozens who would die due to having to accomplish the same while *under attack* from a criminal. He also doesn’t get it that the 100 round drum jammed after 55 or so rounds – 45 shots unfired. Holmes bumbled with the jammed gun for 20 seconds and no one tackled him, maybe a few got out – but he then drew a pistol and proceeded to murder a few more people before tiring of his rampage. Had he been using 10 round magazines (like at Columbine (97 shots fired) and VA Tech (174 shots fired)) he’d have gotten off all 100 rounds, dozens more would have been shot. Magazine changes take a second or two, you are fooling yourself if you think people cowering and hiding from the gunfire can accomplish any action in that amount of time – its over and done before they percieve the lull to act.

    If Sullivan actually cared for saving lives and had a clear head about it, he’d be after the theater and other places to remove their “gun free zones” that enabled the gunman to shoot so many unopposed for the length of time he did.

  • colocaver

    All I’m hearing is Hickenlooper is more than willing to put political promises, even those made by others, and not even himself (What a big boy!) in front of rational decision-making and our Liberty.

    This man has no backbone.

  • colocaver

    Anyone who has used a weapon with a high-cap mag will know you will likely set the weapon’s furniture afire around rounds 60-70 IF the high cap mag doesn’t jam before you get there, lol! Gunpowder is hot, so is the friction of 70 copper jacket bullets going from 0 to + mach1 in a fraction of a second in a steel barrel one after another.

    IF you are dumb enough to insert another brick of gunpowder to the gun that is now smoking, cracking, and glowing bright red from the muzzle down without letting it cool, you will either melt the barrel or ignite your ammo, nether which are desirable, If you can maintain your grip on the smoldering weapon.

    Quick accurate mag changes and a good sidearm rule the day.
    Bulky heavy jam prone high cap mags just make your aim inaccurate, slow and you likely the loser when it counts!

  • Butch

    It is proven that more guns equals more death from guns. Common sense regulation of personal weapons of mass destruction is good for Colorado and our Country.

    • sheep

      With over 300,000 million firearms in the country and violent crime continuing to decline what proof do you have of your ignorance? I can like to the federal goverments numbers that show this

    • jakebrake77

      Oh come on Butch, pull your head out. There are over 20,000 gun control laws on the books now. Enough is enough!
      DR. BEN CARSON in 2016!

    • freeaquila

      Firearms were much more accessible prior to 1968 when there was no background check at all necessary to buy a gun in America. So why now do so many Americans perceive this outbreak of mass shootings to be the fault of the “gun”? I find it interesting that so many of the perpetrators on mass shootings were either actively taking psychotropic drugs (SSRI drugs) or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crimes. What about the pharmaceutical companies who use their bank roll to force what I believe to be the true “personal weapons of mass destruction” down the throats of people?

    • Jason Perry

      Again with the “Common Sense” phrase. Just what is “Common Sense”? The anti-gunners come out wanting more laws. Well, California anti-gunners got what they wanted…background checks, registry, mag limits, waiting periods, et al and yet, a pert STILL went on a shooting rampage. Now California wants more!!! They never stop and are NEVER satisfied and never will be satisfied until all guns are banned. THAT is their goal, so why do you not PLEASE admit it?

  • S.M.F.

    “A lot of country bumpkins live out here. [Politicians] try to talk in terms everyone can understand. I’m not going to be offended, because we know what happened. And what happened is saving lives.”
    Are you KIDDING ME TOM???? How DARE you look down and speak like this about the fine people of this state. Belittling them to bolster yourself up. VERY arrogant and to be honest, immature. Just know that every visit you make to our representatives, I am right behind you with the opposite view. Showing up, calling and writing. You are wrong, you know you are yet your grief is clouding your judgement. We also lost Alex. We also loved Alex, but we know who the real enemy is. James Holmes… A Californian not a Coloradoan killed your son. You will not destroy our second amendment rights with your liberal crusade. Stop being their puppet and focus on REAL justice for Alex and the others.
    FYI – My son and I are both alive because I could protect us from intruders. If you had your way, we would be dead.

  • Bryan

    The major issue that nobody is thinking about is this….if a crazed person has it in their mind to go out and shoot as many people as they can, are they really thinking “well I don’t want to break any laws while I murder innocent people so I better only use a 10 round magazine”. The gunman can carry a dozen 10 round magazines instead of one large 100 round. Putting a ban on high capacity magazines to try to prevent shootings from happening is the most pointless law ever written.

    • Someone who loved Alex Sullivan and knows who the REAL enemy is!

      You are ABSOLUTELY right! He is using his son, his murdered son, as a platform for the gun grabbing libs. Tom doesn’t attend any Holmes court hearings unless there is a camera there. He is a left wing second amendment bashing puppet paid to travel around the country to speak for their pathetic agenda. We **loved** Alex – we still do. Shame on YOU TOM for using your son to further an agenda that YOU KNOW IS WRONG! You should be deeply ashamed. Alex would be mortified if he knew what you and your family have been doing while waving his picture. The way you have allowed yourself to be used is inexcusable. You have lost the respect of so many people. Just stop it. Holmes is the enemy. Not the God fearing “country bumpkins” of our fine state of Colorado who WILL win this war waged against them. You will not destroy our rights –
      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.

  • kitty

    Yeah because of this law people totally don’t go out of state and buy them like they do with fireworks or anything. How many illegal fireworks do you see going off every year?

  • jakebrake77

    Once again, the Hickster lies, obfuscates and flip/flops? No surprise here considering it’s simply what democrats do in an election year!

  • Stephen Mullane

    these two parties are just nauseating…the people that still buy into the false left vs right dichotomy is nauseating….when i think i should check out what the MSM is talking about, i see stories like this….another reason to never watch MSM…no credibility and just trying to further the divide…

  • Anonymous

    Good thing EVERYBODY bought thousands of high-cap (standard 30 round) magazines before the ban went into effect….
    Also, why is everyone shocked that a politician did something less-than-honest, that wasn’t necessarily what his constituents wanted?

  • Fast45

    If I were Hickenlooper, then I’d want to distance myself from Bloomberg’s stance on many things. Truth is, Bloomberg wants to take away your guns AND your Big Gulp soda because he has billions (and that of course means that HE knows best) … and our lying, pandering, indecisive Hickenlooper will do or say anything to get some of Bloomberg’s loot. Afterwards, Hick will lie, pander, and flip-flop (again) on Bloomberg’s pet issues whenever he must answer to the Colorado voters. Vote him out!

  • Dick Peabody

    Nothing Hick signed into law will stop a determined madman or would have prevented the Aurora shooting had they already been in place. Hick even acknowledged this at the time, several months before signing these useless (but onerous to the law-abiding) bills into law. As for Sullivan’s “country bumpkins” comment: He’s an urban elitist who is simply parroting the disparaging remarks Hick has made in the past about rural Colorado.

  • sheep

    So unless you live in the Denver metro you don’t count? Thanks for letting us know that you fing trash. Why is anyone still talking to morse anyway, we got rid of him for a reason

  • David M. Bennett

    Limiting a magazine to 10 rounds (or 15 rounds in Colorado’s case) is hardly a hindrance to a mad man shooting 6 year-old school kids (or any other unarmed victims for that matter). It is a potentially fatal problem, however, to the law-abiding citizen, faced with a criminal (or God-forbid multiple thugs) who ignores the high-cap ban. Guess who is going to run out of ammo first? That is right, it will be the good guy. Lots of rounds serve a defensive purpose too, they allow someone under attack the luxury of applying covering fire. Pinning down the bad guy while your family, or other innocents, move out of harms way is not a bad idea.

    Every time I hear one of these anti-gun politicians state unequivocally that the only reason for a high-capacity magazine is to make it easy to kill a large number of people it makes me wonder why police are inevitably ‘exempt’ from the high-capacity magazine ban. Really, why? I don’t know any law-enforcement agency in the country whose job it is to kill large numbers of people…so that being the case, why on earth isn’t 10 (or 15 rounds) enough ammo to protect themselves from the very same thugs that prey on citizens? Gee wiz, I mean if they have more so-called ‘training’ that average citizens then shouldn’t a normal magazine be enough to get the job done?

  • Nancy L

    Recently, at Tuscon and Sandy Hook, lives were saved when the shooter was reloading. Potential targets close enough to the shooter have an opportunity to tackle shooter when they’re reloading, as a 61 year old women did in Tucson. Also, potential victims have an opportunity to flee, as children did in Sandy Hook.

    I feel sorry for the folks who feel they’re being discriminating against unreasonably for having to reload after shooting 15 bullets or 10 or whatever the limit is in your state. These people have no sense of proportion and no sense of decency.

    • David M. Bennett

      Exactly who was saved at Sandy Hook because the shooter reloaded? Just curious! Please cite your official source. As for Tuscon, I wish the authorities would release the surveillance video of the shooting so that we can all judge for ourselves the oft cited (perhaps erroneous) conclusion you’ve attempted to make. I’ve heard that the shooter dropped his mag, that being the reason others had time to tackle him. Now if he hadn’t dropped his mag (or fumbled it as other sources have cited) then it is pure speculation (not a fact – as per the anti-gun camp’s talking points) that lives were saved, much less that the gun man would have been successfully tackled.
      I feel sorry for the law-abiding folks who may very well die for having to reload (assuming that an extra mag is within reach of the ‘surprised’ victim). What is a sense of proportion or decency when it comes to self-defense.? Why do the police carry high-capacity magazines for self-defense?

  • Todd

    Its obvious we do not have a problem with guns. What we have is a problem with Liberals and guns. Look at the political leanings of mass shooters. Just keep Liberals from owning guns and our problems are solved. It’s also obvious they don’t trust themselves with guns so it would just be helping them out.

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