After the Newtown massacre, President Barack Obama and many liberal politicians thought they were poised to enact dramatic gun control laws. Things haven't played out as they expected.
Gun control measures were first weakened and then defeated in the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate, an embarrassing public relations debacle for the Obama administration. Liberals took some satisfaction in seeing gun control measures pass at the state level. In swing-state Colorado, lawmakers voted to restrict ammunition-magazine capacity, require background checks for all firearms sales and require gun buyers to pay for those background checks. Liberals warned that Colorado's embrace of gun control proved opponents were outside the mainstream and risked public blowback.
Now it turns out that Democrats who supported gun control in Colorado are the ones experiencing blowback, not the measures' opponents. Colorado Senate President John Morse faces the prospect of a recall election. A group called the Basic Freedom Defense Fund is seeking 7,178 signatures on a petition before a June 3 deadline to force a recall election.
No state senator has ever been recalled in Colorado. But polling commissioned by I Am Created Equal, a free-market women's group, found 34 percent of district voters supported Morse's recall while 29 percent were opposed; the rest were undecided. However, when respondents were told Morse sponsored a bill to make manufacturers and owners liable for crimes committed with their guns, 56 percent favored his recall. Both sides are raising funds in anticipation of a tough election race. Overall, up to four Colorado Democrats may face recall efforts after supporting gun control legislation.
In short, the gun control debate is playing out much as it did in the 1990s. The issue has motivated Second Amendment supporters and forced Democrats to play defense — all because liberals insisted on advancing bills that most experts agree would have done nothing to prevent horrors like the Newtown killings.