SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) – Gun violence, and ways to prevent it, are on the minds of many following the mass shootings in El Paso, and Dayton.
Former Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper says the shootings take him back to Colorado’s own mass shootings… including the Aurora theater shooting in July of 2012. Authorities say suspect James Holmes set off tear gas grenades, and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” inside the Century 16 Theater. Twelve people were killed, and seventy others were injured.
On Sunday, Hickenlooper was back in Colorado advocating for solutions to reduce the number of mass shootings. He joins other Democrats in calling for gun reform. That’s where KTIV’s Matt Breen started his conversation with Hickenlooper, Thursday afternoon.
“Governor, after the Century 16 Theater mass shooting, in Aurora, Colorado, you– as governor– helped pass universal background checks, and you limited magazine capacity,” said Matt Breen. “In the wake of the El Paso and Dayton shootings, what reforms do you think lawmakers, in Washington, should pursue?
“Well, universal background checks have become universal,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper, (D) Presidential Candidate. “The pull, nationwide, over 90-percent approval. In Colorado, we had a battle… not a single Republican legislator to support universal background checks in 2013 after that shooting. In the end we checked our local statistics, and we were getting to 50-percent of the gun purchases, about half, and we wanted to get to universal. We’ve had over 3,000 people, per year, apply for a background check, and had been a felon… felony conviction of a violent crime… and tried to buy a gun, and we stopped them. You have to assume there was an equal number that tried to buy a gun, and did buy a gun. I think we go to a few states separately… purple states, and maybe some red states… and give them their local statistics and then get Washington to do what it’s supposed to do. How can we get it done in Colorado, and no one is able to get in done in Washington?”
“What do you say to those gun owners, who interpret any proposed reforms as an attack on the 2nd Amendment?” asked Breen.
“You know, the 2nd Amendment… it’s funny, my grandmother’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was the captain of the first city troop in Philadelphia,” Hickenlooper said. “The very first militia. The 2nd Amendment is a well-regulated militia being essential to the preservation of democracy. The right shall not be infringed… the right to bear arms. We’re not taking anyone’s guns away. I mean, we don’t take your car away if we say you have to have driver’s license. It’s regulating. It’s making sure that people, who have guns, aren’t dangerous criminals. Again, we’re not taking guns away, we’re trying to keep our communities safe. If you were a terrorist, and you wanted to hurt the United States, what more could you do to hurt this country than to make kids scared to go to school, to make families scared to go to Walmart. I mean, we’re terrorizing ourselves.”
“Why should people caucus for you here in Iowa, support you, and ultimately vote for you for President of the United States?” asked Breen.
“Well, obviously, here in the hawkeye state, Bourke Hickenlooper was lieutenant governor, governor, and then a senator for 24 years… all the way to 1970,” Hickenlooper said. “That’s a good place to start. You know, I am the one person who has done what everyone else is doing. As a small business owner, and a mayor for eight years, and then a governor for eight years. We got to near-universal health care, we’ve become the #1 economy in the country for the last three years, and we did that by maintaining the highest environmental standards and the highest ethical standards. Aren’t these the things that the country should be doing? We attacked climate change by getting the oil and gas industry, and the environmental community, to work together for the first time ever to create methane regulations. This is what the country needs. I can beat Donald Trump in states like Michigan and Wisconsin. I’ve created jobs in the private sector, and the public sector. I know how to deal with those kitchen table issues that people care about in those swing states. But, after the election, I can bring people together. Because if we’re really going to attack climate change, and if we’re really going to deal with the inflation of health care we’re going to have to get together afterwards… non-profits and businesses, Republicans and Democrats… we’re all going to have to work together.”
“Governor John Hickenlooper, best of luck in the campaign sir,” Breen said.
“You bet,” Hickenlooper said. “Thank you.”
“Thanks for the time,” Breen said.