The recall effort against two Democrat lawmakers who championed tougher gun laws in Colorado succeeded, the Associated Press reported early this morning. Senate President John Morse, along with Sen. Angela Giron were turned out by voters angered over their support for citizen disarmament measures so extreme that manufacturers are leaving the state and a “sporting sequester” boycott has been proposed.
While Morse has dismissed the recall as “purely symbolic,” those who ousted him would argue otherwise. He occupies one of the most powerful offices in the state, and his defeat not only showed the power of grassroots gun rights activists when they get motivated, but sent a warning to politicians that will be noted far beyond the Centennial State. It also demonstrated that mere money sent in by anti-gun patrons like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and California “philanthropist” Eli Broad is not enough to compete against committed and organized civil rights advocates.
“The outcome of the recalls will influence the future of the debate over gun control legislation in Colorado and in other states,” The Washington Post acknowledged in an August “GovBeat” report. “If two pro-gun control state legislators lose after backing the new laws, other gun control advocates may hesitate before they pursue their own measures.”
While the successful recall will not be enough to shift the legislative balance of power in Colorado, it will no doubt show activists there and elsewhere what is possible when they apply themselves, and give a boost of confidence to retry recalls in efforts where not enough signatures were gathered, or to start new efforts where success seems possible. And it will no doubt energize gun owners to participate in the next election
Though the recall is a first for Colorado, conducting one to punish an anti-gun politician is not new. In 1994, Californians Against Corruption launched a recall effort against powerful Senate President pro tempore David Roberti, author of the state’s first “assault weapon” ban. Though that effort ultimately failed, Roberti was forced to deplete his political war chest defending himself, and lost his subsequent run for State Treasurer as a result.
"Victory springs from imparting excruciating political pain in unrelenting repetitive attacks on a single politician as an example to others," The Chicago Tribune quoted from a fundraising appeal by recall leader Russ Howard at the time. "We may not win a particular election, but our methods . . . (make) it exceedingly expensive, difficult and unpleasant for the target to remain in office."
Fear of that unpleasantness may be enough to rein in legislators seeing gun owners realizing a newly-discovered power. At the very least, recall actions can cause anti-gun politicians and their patrons to use up their resources defensively, as opposed to launching new aggressive campaigns against gun ownership, and even if unsuccessful, can make reelection or pursuit of other offices problematic. And when successful, it can freeze all who live in contestable areas in their tracks, particularly in the 18 states that have recall provisions, and inspire gun rights activists who live in the remaining 32 to organize for legislation to acquire the same capabilities.
UPDATE: Also see "Colorado voters to Bloomberg: Liberty not for sale," by Dave Workman.
What the Obama administration can’t get through legislation they’re determined to get just by issuing orders. The latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it before the magazine hits the stands. Click here to read "Executive Actions.”
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