GOP trio would reverse gun laws

DENVER — Three Republican candidates for governor said Thursday they would reverse the gun laws signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper, and order the execution of the man on death row, Nathan Dunlap, that the Democrat delayed.

Dunlap murdered four employees in the 1993 robbery of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.

The three candidates, former state Sen. Mike Kopp, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former congressman Bob Beauprez, also said at a debate sponsored by Denver’s Channel 9 they were pro-choice, would revise the state’s health care exchange and would impose stricter regulations on the use of legalized marijuana.

A fourth GOP candidate, Tom Tancredo, once again declined to debate other Republicans running in the June 24 primary. It is the third debate he has declined to attend.

On marijuana, the three were asked what they thought of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s recent criticism of Colorado and the way the state was handling legalized marijuana.

While some of the candidates agreed with Christie to a point, at least one didn’t care for his opinions.

“Getting advice from the governor of New Jersey about our quality of life is like getting advice from the cast of ‘Jersey Shore’ on dating,” Kopp said. “A bad idea.”

The candidates were asked about their own perceived failings, including the recent Colorado Independent Ethics Commission decision against Gessler for using state funds to attend a Republican Party event in Florida.

Last month, a Denver district court judge upheld that decision, but Gessler continues to maintain his innocence.

“We have a corrupt ethics commission,” he said. “It is controlled, dominated and run by Hickenlooper re-election supporters.”

He said three of the five members on the panel have donated money to Hickenlooper, but a check of campaign finance donations maintained by Gessler’s office shows only two gave money to him. Additionally, only one was appointed by the governor and both donations came before they were appointed to the panel.

The three candidates also were asked what they thought was dysfunctional about their own party that would cause so many candidates to seek the same office.

Beauprez, who ran for governor in 2006, losing by 17 percentage points to Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter, disputed the question.

“I think our brand is on the rise for a very obvious reason,” Beauprez said. “There’s basically two philosophies. One believes that people are the problem, that they need to be regulated and that they need to be controlled.

“The other believes that people are the solution,” he added. “We are the party that believes in people, the goodness of the people and their inherent ability to make their own decisions in life.”


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