Hickenlooper clarifies remarks to sheriffs: ‘I’d sign the magazine ban again’

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DENVER -- Under fire from both Republicans and Democrats over his effort to appease a group of Colorado's sheriffs still steamed about the state's new gun laws, Gov. John Hickenlooper said Friday that he hasn't changed his tune and still supports the controversial ban on high-capacity magazines.

In his first interview on the subject, Hickenlooper told FOX31 Denver that he wasn't aware he was being filmed last Friday during a meeting with the sheriffs in Aspen when he appeared to backpedal on the magazine ban, agreeing with one sheriff that it was unenforceable and telling the group that he didn't expect the legislation to even make it to his desk.

The remarks, he said Friday, were an effort to apologize to sheriffs who felt their voices weren't heard during last year's legislative process, not a disavowal of the magazine ban itself.

"I didn't say it's unenforceable, I said it's difficult to enforce," Hickenlooper said. "A lot of laws are difficult to enforce; that doesn't mean they shouldn't be there. If we went through the process again, I'd sign it again."

In video footage obtained by the conservative website Revealing Politics, Hickenlooper told the sheriffs that he signed the magazine ban in part because a staffer had already told the bill's sponsor that he would; and he erroneously stated that he never talked to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose group Mayors Against Illegal Guns led the lobbying effort on behalf of the magazine ban and an expanded background checks measure (phone records had already revealed calls between Hickenlooper and Bloomberg).

A week after the meeting with the sheriffs, the governor explained that he and his staff made the decision last year to sign House Bill 1224, which bans magazines of more than 15 rounds, more than a month before the legislation reached his desk; and he said that he wouldn't have allowed the senate to vote on the controversial measure -- three Democratic senators who supported the ban were ousted from office last fall as part of a recall effort in response to the gun bills -- if he were considering a veto.

"I talked to Bloomberg, but it was after we already made the decision," Hickenlooper said Friday. "He didn't call and lobby me or have any influence on the decision I made about the bill. That's what I was trying to get across."

The bill was signed into law last March.

As far as the staffer's promise, Hickenlooper had told the sheriffs that, "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."

On Friday, he acknowledged that he wasn't hamstrung by a staffer's promise but that he and staffers made the decision to sign the magazine ban and that any promises made by staffers were at his own direction.

He also acknowledged the heartburn his apparent backpedaling may have caused the families of gun violence victims who supported the tougher gun control laws.

"I didn't know that this was public, that this was going to be recorded," Hickenlooper said. "If any of those families -- if I caused them any offense, I certainly regret that. A large part of why we went through that process and why those bills got passed is that we didn't want any family going through what they've already had to go through."

Overall, Hickenlooper came away from the discussion with the sheriffs feeling like it had gone well. He didn't hear about recordings of the conversation causing a stir until he was boarding a flight to Mexico for a three day trade mission on Monday.

"I gave the sheriffs the benefit of the doubt, and I think most of them appreciated that. I wasn't trying to persuade them or win them over. I was trying to make sure we have a good relationship," said Hickenlooper.

Even though the sheriffs were initially named as plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new gun laws, Hickenlooper was surprised they spent as much time as they did asking questions on the subject.

"Maybe I thought it would come up, but I didn't think they would be so animated about it," he said a week later. "I'm an optimist. I went up there and thought well, if they feel they weren't heard, I'll apologize and we'll go forward. I was trying to figure out how we work together going forward.

"I was under no illusion they would change their minds," he continued. "They asked me questions, and I tried to give them honest, unscripted, candid answers. I was me."

WATCH FOX31 Denver's exclusive interview with Hickenlooper tonight at 5 p.m.



  • Allan Lee

    This man is nothing but a liar. His statement saying “he didn’t know he was being flimed,” means nothing more then I didn’t think I’d get caught.

  • Anonymous

    Lickenpooper was for it, then against it, then for it again, just depends on which group he is talking to that day. Let’s call him Licken Flopper.

  • Colorado Skydog

    Two-faced lying bx$tard, Blommberg has bought and paid for your support angainst the wishes of the people you are suppose to serve. The unemployment line is waiting for you.

  • Joel

    And thus, the “article” about Hickenlooper backtracking and swearing is suddenly gone from the site.

  • Joel

    Here is another take away from this “article”. Hickenlooper will say and do anything depending on who his audience is. don’t believe him. #donottalktostokols

  • Dick Peabody

    After the Aurora theater shooting Hick said no law could have prevented it. Then he changed his mind and signed worthless antii-gun laws. Then he tells the sheriff’s he really opposes the laws he signed and NOW he’s back to supporting them. This clown is better than flip-flopper John Kerry. Bring on Tancredo!!!

  • Anonymous

    As I’ve said before, another east coast jac$#ss who thinks he knows whats best for you and me and Colorado, kiss my Colorado ARSE.

  • UBG

    “…and he erroneously stated…”
    You could have saved some space and keystrokes by replacing that with “… and he lied…”

  • annpirie

    I do not care what side you are on, where you have been, or where you are going. If you cannot figure out this guy does not track properly, get help!

  • Roger S.

    What a snake. Hey Hick, did you put your wet finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing. I like him back peddling “because he didn’t know the cameras were recording.” This day and age they are always running. I will bet a staffer put it before a focus group to see if he needed to retract his statement.

  • Jim

    Incompetent. He’s acknowledged the law would have no impact on other occasions. We should not be making laws that have no effect simply to make laws. That is the sign of a toxic politician.

    Time to go, Chickenpooper.

  • Christopher Leete

    Getting in bed with Bloomberg shows a serious lack of judgement and accountability to his constituents. Hickenlooper, you made a deal with the devil and that’s one stench that will never wash off.

  • Fast45

    Pandering, weakness, and gun control. That’s the Hickenlooper legacy. Without a few natural disasters to provide him some positive photo ops, all we could remember is those first three.

  • Nickbnumbers

    A promise to a staffer? Seriously?

    What if it was “Sorry, Gov. Hickenlooper–I only punched you in the mouth because I HAD to. You see, my secretary promised that I’d do it, so I, like, totally had to.”

    See how dumb that sounds?
    Eh, probably not.

  • Tom Zavoy

    He’ll lose because most of people in the state of Colorado support the Second Amendment as do Liberals who are quiet on the 2nd Amendment issues, Go GOP…….!

  • Centurion 6

    …………Colorado was overrun by New Yorkers and Californians who were escaping the Socialist nighmares their states became and converted Colorado into another Socialist nightmare. But they did too much too soon and on November 5 many of them will be looking for real work, and may even have to associate with the peasants who they presently rule. .

  • Ted Buck

    To those who have been impacted by such an overwhelming pile of evidence, you’ve already done the thing three times. RECALL the lying a**hole, or impeach him for fouling the governor’s palace. The people have the power to take out the trash!

  • RE Hafner

    A few more months and Hickenlooper will be unemployed, just another gun grabbing tax and spend liberal out of work. He will have to take his knee pads he used for Obama and Bloomberg visits to the pawn shop for coffee money.

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