What can the Colorado recall teach us about gun control?

Neither Second Amendment fundamentalists or firearm prohibitionists are probably going to like the answer. Photo: Associated Press

OCALA, Fla., September 12, 2013 — Gun rights advocates have achieved what no small number of people surely thought to be impossible. On Tuesday, two sitting state senators in Colorado lost recall elections due to their support of firearm control legislation.

One of these senators, John Morse, was serving as senate president at the time of his defeat. 

While many are probably wondering how one of the most powerful politicians in Colorado could be usurped by a band of pro-gun activists, it should be remembered that the most motivated voters show up for special elections. 

Therefore, the electorate which sent Morse into retirement is different than what is present during the midterms and presidential races. Nonetheless, gun rights supporters made their statement loud and clear.

The Colorado recall might go down in history as the closing chapter in gun control efforts following the Sandy Hook shooting late last year.

By any rational account, these efforts have been a collective failure. While New York and Connecticut predictably passed strong, if not draconian, firearm safety laws, Congress infamously failed to do so. This came despite Republican support for certain gun control measures.

SEE RELATED: Two for two: Morse and Giron both recalled in Colorado

Simply put, the future of gun control looks bleak. As many a sage mind may have foreseen, the most recent debate would ultimately be driven by Second Amendment fundamentalists and anti-gun absolutists. 

Compromise was never going to enter our nation’s rapidly devolving political mainstream. Certain public officeholders from both parties did try to turn the ship around, but they were largely brushed aside. 

In the past, this column has featured a bold plan for gun control, which would essentially be a background check accompanied by firearm registration and other directives. While the idea is good for both personal and public safety, it appears infeasible at this time. 

America just isn’t ready for any wide-ranging, though nonetheless reasonable, firearm safety policies. Our state of political affairs is far too turbulent to produce anything positive.

During the months and years ahead, gun rights activists and anti-Second Amendment zealots will almost definitely take a page from the Colorado recall. Not only might more pro-firearm control legislators be recalled in various states, but anti-gun control lawmakers could receive the same treatment. 

If anything, what happened in Colorado may make passing future gun control legislation an all but an insurmountable hassle. Likewise, expanding gun rights may become a boundless quagmire.

It seems that the Colorado recall’s legacy will have unintended consequences for people on both sides of the gun control debate.  

Everyone can be certain of one thing, though. This has nothing to do with firearm rights specifically, but rather the next-to-nonexistent state of bipartisanship. 

In a nutshell, should lawmakers fear recall reprisals from the more radical elements of their base, then making necessary, but likely unpopular, compromises becomes all but a career-ender. As a result, direly needed legislation either never gets drafted or is defeated in a vote. Of course, this madness greatly accelerates the United States’s ongoing socioeconomic decline. 

We do live in interesting times, don’t we?

Far-left? Far-right? Get realRead more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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