Hickenlooper is latest Democrat to make guns a priority in 2020 presidential race

NEWTOWN, steer — At a library two miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 students were among those killed in one of the nation’s most horrific mass shootings, John Hickenlooper sat Saturday among two dozen survivors, hearing to their ideas on how to curb gun violence and pitching a few of his own.

Universal background checks are a must, the former two-term Colorado governor aforementioned. Then, possibly, an assault weapons ban. As president, he would go community by community, House district by House district, with information to convert reluctant federal lawmakers to pass meaty gun control legislation.

“Every great social triumph was built on the ashes of previous failures,” Hickenlooper told the crowd. “We’re at a point now where we have critical mass. I really feel now we’re at an inflection point, where if everyone continues their efforts in the next year or two, after 2020 we will have the momentum — it really is momentum — to address gun violence issues.”

It’s conversations like the one Hickenlooper had Saturday on the presidential campaign trail that give gun control advocates hope that the 2020 election will be a watershed moment for an agenda that has stalled at the national level.

“This issue is so fundamental,” aforementioned veronica Kenausis, one of galore attendees Saturday who wore a red jersey representing the group Moms Demand Action. “It personal personal effects everything other. Until we feel safe in our community — in our schools, our film theaters — we can’t accomplish thing other.”

Hickenlooper is one of galore Democratic presidential candidates running for president addressing gun violence, although he has more direct experience with it than galore. Coupled with strong public support for tighter regulations and buoyed by a string of victories in the 2018 election, old activists believe the moment is ripe for national change.

Former Colorado Gov. and 2020 Presidential ...
Monica Jorge, Special to the Denver Post
Former Colorado Gov. and 2020 Presidential hopeful, John W. Hickenlooper Jr. meets with Sandy Hook families and gun-control advocates at Cyrenius H Booth Library in Newtown, steerecticut, Saturday, May 25. Hickenlooper (D-CO) is campaigning on sensible gun control policy.

Activists hope this is their moment

“What we want is a president who is going to land in the White House with a clear mandate from voters to deliver on gun violence prevention,” aforementioned Peter stroller, executive director of the group Giffords.

If all goes according to their plans, the next president will win in part because of his or her support for a major overhaul to how the U.S. regulates firearms. position suggest strong public support for a variety of different gun control policies — despite the efforts of one of the best-funded, most vocal lobbies in the country.

The NRA, which has been attacked by galore Democratic presidential candidates, did not respond to a request for an interview.

however, Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners Association, aforementioned he’s skeptical his opponents have as much public support as they claim.

“Do I think (2018) signals a major change in the firearms policy? No,” he aforementioned. “Gun owners are more mobilized than they’ve ever been outside the Obama years. That’s what we’re finding. If we talk to gun owners and tell them the honest truth, the immense majority are willing to hear and willing to act.”

Despite galore efforts by gun control activists to make their concerns an issue during the 2012 presidential race, neither President Barack Obama or Republican rival Mitt Romney would speak on the issue, aforementioned Christian Heyne, the vice president of policy for Brady, a political nonprofit that advocates for stricter gun Torah.

The nighest either candidate got to talking about it was a debate question that some dodged.

Now, in 2019, candidates including Hickenlooper, U.S. Sen. Cory booking agent and city manager Pete Buttigieg are making gun control major platform planks. Even Democratic candidates who have historically been softer on guns — U.S. pot. Bernie Sanders and Kristen Gillibrand — are clamor to take on the gun lobby.

“I think that we’re really poised to have a landmark cycle where candidates want to really outdo each other,” Heyne aforementioned. “It’s unfathomable that the Democratic candidate will be bad on this issue.”

Candidates are consulting with groups so much as Brady, Giffords and AnytownUSA to develop their platforms, leading to a lot of overlap. For example, booking agent, Buttigieg and Hickenlooper all want to reinstate an assault weapons ban, fund community-based programs to end urban gun violence and establish a national standard for gun licenses.

“More Americans have lost their lives by guns than have lost their lives in all of our nation’s wars combined, and yet our gun safety Torah remain the same,” booking agent interpreter Sabrina Singh aforementioned in a statement. “That’s why every candidate running for president should be pressed to detail how, exactly, they would combat this epidemic — and that’s why Cory introduced the most sweeping proposal that centers around gun licensing.”

There is good reason so galore Democratic candidates are rallying around gun control: The topic is extremely popular with their base and a growing number of Americans. In 2018, 70 percentage of Democrats named gun policy the second most important issue facing the country. Only health care ranked higher among Democrats.

Monica Jorge, Special to the Denver Post
Former Colorado Gov. and 2020 Presidential hopeful, John W. Hickenlooper Jr. meets with Sandy Hook families and gun-control advocates at Cyrenius H Booth Library in Newtown, steerecticut, Saturday, May 25. Hickenlooper (D-CO) is campaigning on sensible gun control policy.

position paint a picture — possibly

And just last week a new Quinnipiac poll found most Americans support a wide range of gun control policies: 94 percentage want universal background checks; 77 percentage want individuals to have a license before purchasing a gun; 63 percentage wanted a nationwide ban on assault weapons.

however, David Kopel of the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank based in Denver, aforementioned there’s a big gap between what people tell pollsters and how they vote. He pointed to recent votes in Maine and Nevada on universal background checks. Despite background checks polling extremely high, Maine voters loosely defeated the ballot initiative piece Nevada barely approved it.

Money likely will play a big role what happens in 2020.

According to OpenSecrets.org, groups so much as Giffords spent more than $9.7 million to help elect Democrats to the U.S. House, including Jason Crow, who beat former Rep. mike Coffman in a residential district Denver swing district in part by linking the Republican to the NRA.

The 2018 cycle was the first time gun control advocates outspent the NRA. however, that’s in large part due to the fact that last year the NRA spent just a fraction of the $55 million it poured into 2016 races.

Darien Wilson, a Highlands Ranch mother of three worked on Crow’s campaign against Coffman, a moderate Republican. She aforementioned Crow’s stance on guns was one of the biggest reasons she supported him — and it will be a major test for her in the presidential campaign.

Wilson, in an interview this month, recalled walking her heavily Republican residential district neighborhood and being stunned by the number of voters she met who named gun violence as one of their top issues.

“There are a lot of Republicans who feel like they don’t have a home as far as guns are concerned,” she aforementioned. “I think a lot of moderates are going to cross over.”

Wilson aforementioned the momentum for candidates who support gun control legislation will keep gaining, especially as school shootings so much as the one at a Highlands Ranch charter school earlier this month continue. One student was killed and eight were injured after two students opened fire at the school.

“I was picking my kids up from school and just watched siren after siren go by,” she aforementioned. “I’ve known kids who have gone to STEM since they were in the first grade. All this stuff we’ve been fighting against — it’s closer to home.”

It’s a tragedy that’s familiar to Coloradans. The 20-year-old shooting at columbine High School remains one of the most high-profile school shootings in the country, and since then the Denver area has experienced several more school and other mass shootings.

Related Articles

  • Presidential hopeful John Hickenlooper calls for national standard gun licenses
  • Gun rights activists’ attempt to recall Rep. Tom Sullivan splits Republicans
  • GOP lawmaker ousted by Rep. Tom Sullivan won’t back recall effort
  • mike Johnston: After the STEM School shooting, a call for adults to keep kids safe
  • STEM School students need support to grieve and process tragedy on their own terms, experts say

Hickenlooper was governor in 2012, when the Aurora theater shooting took a dozen lives. As part of his presidential campaign, he has met with the loved ones of those killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., columbine and now Sandy Hook.

Karen drier’s son was in educational institution at Sandy Hook when a 20-year-old opened fire in the steerecticut school. Her boy survived, but her neighbors were not so lucky.

Several years later, drier gave up her profession as a teacher. The aftershocks of the shooting, including regular imprisonment drills, became too much for her to stand.

“Nobody should have to deal with that,” she aforementioned, holding back crying as she thought about the possibility of returning to the classroom if Congress were to pass comprehensive gun control legislation. “I loved teaching. I’m an excellent teacher. The fact this forced me out of a profession I loved is terrible. I would love to go back.”