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APNewsBreak: Colo gov says time to talk gun laws

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 13, 2012 at 12:45 pm •  Published: December 13, 2012
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DENVER (AP) — Colorado's Gov. John Hickenlooper said "the time is right" for state lawmakers to consider gun control measures, offering his firmest stance in the aftermath of several high-profile shootings, including a movie theater rampage in suburban Denver, that have shocked the nation.

The Democratic governor upset some in his party for not taking a stronger position when he said last summer that stricter laws would not haven't prevented the mass shooting in Aurora.

In an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, Hickenlooper said that the legislative session in January would be an appropriate time to take up a debate on gun control in his state.

"I wanted to have at least a couple of months off after the shooting in Aurora to let people process and grieve and get a little space, but it is, I think, now is the time is right," Hickenlooper said.

The comments also come after a mass shooting at an Oregon mall and a murder-suicide involving a professional football player this month touched off a national debate over gun laws.

Hickenlooper said the issues that merit discussion include "things like, do we all need assault weapons?" which he said are "designed for warfare" and "designed to pierce bulletproof vests and body armor."

Former neuroscience graduate student James Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in the July movie shootings. He has been in jail since the attack and has not entered a plea in the case.

Hickenlooper did not call for specific legislation, but did give a strong indication of what kind of debates and proposals he'd like to see.

"When you look at what happened in Aurora, a great deal of that damage was from the large magazine on the AR-15 (rifle). I think we need to have that discussion and say, 'Where is this appropriate?'"

He said many guns exist now and that there's no "immediate solution" for stopping gun violence. But he quoted Tom Mauser, the father of one of the students killed over a decade ago in the Columbine High School shootings, saying, "If you don't start now, you're not going to get anywhere."

One of the nation's most popular governors, Hickenlooper also tried to put to rest talk about a potential presidential run in 2016. Hickenlooper said he and his Cabinet decided a couple of weeks ago that they wanted to focus on improving health care and education in the state in the next three years.

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