Gun bill protesters rally against governor at Club 20

As whistles and chants from protesters echoed from outside a ballroom at Colorado Mesa University during Club 20’s annual spring meeting, Gov. John Hickenlooper this afternoon defended the more controversial elements of landmark bills aimed at curbing gun violence, which he signed into law last week.

“I appreciate you guys having the welcoming committee out for me,” Hickenlooper joked in starting a 20-minute speech. “That was really fun to watch.”

Waiving flags, carrying signs and calling for the governor’s recall, roughly 100 protesters in an organized effort lined both sides of 12th Street — some of them standing in the traffic median adjacent to the university’s parking garage — around noon.

The protest milled on the ground floor of the University Center, while Club 20 was organized for the day on the second floor. Five uniformed Grand Junction police officers stood outside the ballroom where Hickenlooper addressed attendees.

The measures signed into law Wednesday by the governor create universal background checks on the sale of all firearms in Colorado, require buyers pay for those checks and limit to 15 the number of rounds in a gun magazine.

“The challenge so often for us is getting everyone to use the same facts, so what are the real facts?” Hickenlooper told Club 20.

In 2012, with background checks covering roughly 60 percent of all transactions, roughly 5,000 of the state’s 320,000 sales were halted, he said. Among them were 38 people who had been accused or convicted of homicide, the governor said. There were 133 canceled transactions for would-be buyers accused or convicted of sexual assault, about 400 with restraining orders and 640 people convicted or accused of burglary, he said.

“For people saying these criminals are too smart for these laws, we had 236 people waiting for background checks whom we arrested for outstanding warrants,” Hickenlooper told the crowd, “I’m not saying it would have stopped the shooting in Aurora, Tucson or Sandy Hook, but it does make a difference.”

Read the full story in Sunday’s Daily Sentinel.


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