Democrat governor apologizes for gun control law he signed
When the upset of two Democrat state senators who had been recalled because of their votes for gun control became news last September, I wrote about the role the elected sheriffs in Colorado had played in the debate. The sheriffs had not been asked for their input when the legislation had been drafted and their association had filed suit to have the law overturned as unconstitutional. Last Friday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper apologized to Colorado's sheriffs. How sincere that apology was may be at issue if one looks at the various sources.
The governor's mea culpa came Friday when he spoke before an assembled group of sheriffs from around Colorado.
A Hickenlooper spokesman confirms that the Governor apologized to the sheriffs for not meeting with them prior to the passage of gun control bills they opposed. Hickenlooper also said his administration didn't do a good job anticipating pushback on gun control. According to his spokesman, Hickenlooper pledged better communication in the future.
According to the Facebook page of one of the sheriffs at the meeting, Governor Hickenlooper admitted his office had not researched the legislation before it passed. This lack of research created a law the sheriffs consider unenforceable as written, in additional to the constitutional issues.
Whether this apology was upfront or had to be dragged from the Governor is open to debate. Media coverage of the governor's appearance at the County Sheriffs of Colorado conference, held in Aspen, appears sparse. The Aspen Daily News did, however, report this exchange.
John Cooke, Weld County sheriff, brought up Hickenlooper’s recent visit to Greeley and said the governior [sic] mentioned the importance of listening to win over opponents.
“When these gun laws came up, why wouldn’t you listen to the sheriffs?” he asked. “Why wouldn’t, when a couple of sheriffs wanted to meet with you, you wouldn’t hear our side of the story? You spoke to Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg a couple of times, but you didn’t listen to the sheriffs.”
Hickenlooper said he did meet with the former New York City mayor, adding that Bloomberg’s idea was to “take existing gun laws and enforce them.”
“I would say in the gun stuff, we certainly could have done a better job. … I didn’t find out the sheriffs were trying to talk to me until the week after, 10 days after, that time frame,” he said.
One sheriff was not buying the Obama-type "I didn't find out" disclaimer, though Hickenlooper seemed to remain unperturbed.
Another lawman said that before the gun-measures passed, there were days at the Capitol that saw 40 sheriffs present.
“We were well known to be there,” he said. “We stopped by your office, talked to your staff. I know our organization president sent a letter ...”
“What more apology do you want?” Hickenlooper interrupted to laughter. “What the f---? I apologize!”
This exchange nicely sums up the problem many politicians of both parties seem to be facing of late about listening to the loudest voices rather than the ones of those who elected them. Indeed, elected officials today from both parties seem to believe it may be easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact than consent ahead of time. It remains to be seen how many voters will be in a forgiving mood in November.