Awe, vindication at anti-Morse gatherings



That was how former state Sen. Keith King, who now serves as Colorado Springs City Council president, saw tonight's recall of Sen. John Morse.

"Incumbency at the Legislature has such power," he said. "This is a major, major statement. The people of Colorado Springs have deeply rooted values that go beyond party lines. It's a statement that we need to respect the values of our citizens in our districts. I'm impressed. I'm really impressed."

The longtime politician also predicted the recall outcome "will send a message across this country that people want their voices heard, and they want people to listen to them."

We caught up with King at El Paso County Republican headquarters where all the usual suspects — State Sen. Bill Cadman, Rep. Larry Liston, former Sen. Ed Jones — reveled in the defeat of the second-term Morse over his stance on gun-control measures. 

Except that several people milling around the offices (where GOP senator-elect Bernie Herpin hid out in a back room) and across town at the Stargazers Theater, where the Basic Freedom Defense Fund was holding court, said the recall election wasn't about guns.
  • Bradley Flora
  • Bill Trask

Bill Trask, who lives in Rockrimmon and was perched in Stargazers' upper level, said it was about how the country is going to hell, with the Constitution under assault. "If they can weaken the Second Amendment with a bill, they they can weaken any amendment," he said. "Then they can make the Constitution and the Bill of Rights irrelevant. It's about the foundation of our country that holds our county together."

Trask became more and more furious, he said, as he watched the hearings last winter when Morse brushed aside citizen comment and "ignored the people."

"I have never felt like this in my life," Trask said. "As soon as my government says I can't own a weapon or magazine, it makes me wonder why they're doing that. The fact is, there was no input from the public."

Rob Harris, who became active in politics because of the gun control bills and worked closely with the BFDF locally, also complained that Morse "refused to listen to his constituents. He limited the rules to silence them."

Unlike King, Harris doesn't think the election will pave the way for more recall efforts, because it takes too much time, money and volunteer effort. "If you don't have that perfect storm, you're not gonna get people involved," he said. "It takes something to get Americans energized. It was the way this was done. It was silencing our voices and the way the legislation was put forth. That's why everyone was so energized."

For Harris, it was a wake-up call, and he won't go back to sleep soon. "Now that I've gotten off the couch, I will stay politically active because there are things that need to be done. I gave up a trip with my family for this."

And then there was Erica Petty, down from Larimer County and taking a break outside for a smoke. She said it's foolhardy to think gun control will stop crazy people from mass killings. "Unfortunately, people who plan these sorts of things come prepared" with multiple weapons. The point: limiting the size of magazines won't stop mass slaughter.

We would have liked to talked with others more closely associated with the movement, but Jennifer Kerns, a Koch brothers darling who helped spearhead the defense fund's efforts, shut out the Independent from the "VIP" and "credentialed media" areas, saying we never responded to a requirement to get a credential. For what it's worth, we never received an invitation and repeatedly tried to reach the BFDF before the shindig.

The National Rifle Association wasn't very talkative with us, either. A nice-looking fellow wearing an "NRA Staff" shirt refused an interview, promising that someone named Andrew would call within 10 minutes. It never happened. But we did get this NRA statement in our inbox:

Second Amendment Rights Prevail in Colorado

Colorado Senate President Recalled by Voters for Carrying Bloomberg Gun Control Agenda

Fairfax, Va. – A historic grassroots effort by voters in Colorado’s Senate District 11 has resulted in the recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse (D). The people of Colorado Springs sent a clear message to the Senate leader that his primary job was to defend their rights and freedoms and that he is ultimately accountable to them – his constituents, and not to the dollars or social engineering agendas of anti-gun billionaires.

Recall proceedings began earlier this year after Sen. Morse pushed through anti-gun legislation that restricted the ability of law-abiding residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights, including their inherent right to self-defense. This effort was driven by concerned citizens, who made phone calls, knocked on doors, and worked diligently to turn voters out in this historic effort.

The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to have stood with the men and women in Colorado who sent a clear message that their Second Amendment rights are not for sale. We look forward to working with NRA-PVF “A” rated and endorsed Bernie Herpin (R) from Colorado Springs.

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