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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Readers Debate Colorado Recall Vote

After the recall of two Colorado Democrats who supported new restrictions on firearms, New York Times readers posted more than 1,600 comments, which encompassed spirited debates between those celebrating the recalls and others dismayed by the backlash against what many called “common-sense” gun regulations. The ousted Democrats, Angela Giron of Pueblo and John Morse of Colorado Springs, will be replaced by Republican state senators.

The comment most recommended by readers was written by Robert Haufrecht in New York City, who said, “This is an embarrassment … an exposure of our gun culture and its big money influence that cares not for people’s safety, but uses a smokescreen of ‘conservatism’ and ‘patriotism’ to further unabated sales of arms.”

Many readers pointed to two mass shootings in Colorado, the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012 and the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, and commended the recalled senators for taking a tough vote that led to such backlash.

“Both of these legislators knew the political risks when they voted for sensible restrictions on firearms in a largely rural state in the West,” wrote NJB in Seattle. “Rather than do what was easy, they did what was right.”

In a comment that garnered more than 400 reader recommendations, David Roy in Fort Collins, Colo., echoed NJB’s sentiment, pointing to what he saw as a rarity in modern politics.

“Courage amongst our leadership is already in short supply â€" the threat of losing power by promulgating a divisive issue will only threaten the likelihood that we will have even less leadership, and only followers,” he wrote. “We live by the ballot box, thankfully, and not the bullet â€" but this conversation yesterday across the state of Colorado only makes more possible that the rules of society will more and more become kindergarten rules, with the loudest bullies holding the most sway.”

Those pleased by the outcome applauded the democratic process in Colorado, which is one of 19 states where voters can recall state officials with no specific grounds required.

“While it may be a sad day for those supporting more gun control regulations, our democratic process worked in favor of local wishes,” Dave in New Jersey wrote. “Perhaps there is hope for our nation when big money and outside influences do not always dictate the outcome of an election.”

Dave, like many others, expressed derision toward pro-gun-control groups that worked to support the recalled senators. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York gave $350,000 to support the Democrats, while the National Rifle Association spent nearly $362,000 on the recall effort.

“Much of the disgust heaped on Senators Morse and Giron was based on their dismissive attitudes towards constituents who opposed these new laws,” Jeff M. in Colorado Springs commented. “Both cared more about their liberal ideology and the praise being heaped on them from liberals like Obama, Bloomberg and Maddow than they cared about their own voters.”

“I think the message is pretty clear,” Brian in Tampa, Fla., wrote. “If you chip away at our basic rights like the second amendment, you will be voted out of office.”

Ricky Barnacle in Seaside quickly rebutted, “Yep, tell that to the families of the 31,000 people who die each year in the U.S. due to gun deaths and your ‘right’ to bear arms.”