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Recall fight over guns moves to Colorado ballot

July 19, 2013|By Mark Z. Barabak
  • Seth Walters, a staffer for the gun rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, hands out promotional T-shirts before a gun rights rally held Friday. Nearby, a Mayors Against Illegal Guns remembrance event was held honoring the victims of the Aurora theater shootings and advocating gun control.
Seth Walters, a staffer for the gun rights group Rocky Mountain Gun Owners,… (Brennan Linsley / Associated…)

A major battle in the gun control fight and the first recall election in Colorado history will hurtle to a Sept. 10 vote after a judge rejected a legal challenge and two targeted state lawmakers said they would take their case to voters.

"I have dedicated my life to public service. I look forward to this election," State Senate President John Morse, a Democrat from Colorado Springs, said in a statement announcing he would not appeal Thursday’s decision. "I have already been elected twice. I am excited by the prospect of being elected a third time.”

While Morse is the prime target, state Sen. Angela Giron, a Democratic freshman from Pueblo,  is also facing a recall attempt, growing out of Colorado’s passage this year of sweeping gun control legislation. She, too, said she was eager for the campaign to begin.

Thursday's action came two days before the one-year anniversary of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo. Groups advocating gun control and gun rights staged rallies Friday in Aurora.

Both sides agree the outcome of the recall will probably resonate nationwide, either emboldening lawmakers seeking to clamp down on guns or scaring them off by proving the mettle of gun rights advocates

The vote was set when a district judge in Denver upheld the validity of thousands of signatures gathered to force the vote. Soon after, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper set the election date, in accordance with the state’s recall provision, enacted more than a century ago.

Originally, opponents of the new gun laws targeted four Democratic lawmakers, but their signature-gathering efforts fell short, leaving Morse and Giron to face voters.

mark.barabak@latimes.com

Twitter: @markzbarabak


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