LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Voters in the state of Colorado have ousted two lawmakers who promoted tighter gun controls after last year’s Aurora movie theater massacre.
The removal of State Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron, both Democrats, has garnered close national attention, in the wake of the killings and other gun violence in the United States in 2012.
Morse and Giron were kicked out in a historically unprecedented recall election, hailed by the pro-gun National Rifle Association (NRA).
Morse, who signed into law a bill boosting gun control rules after the Aurora shootings last July and the Newtown school massacre in December, was forced out on a 51 to 49 percent vote, while Giron lost by 56 to 44 percent.
“I’m a little perplexed. This is what I know: I know that I have not one iota of regret from what I voted on,” said Giron, who voted in favor of the gun control legislation, which entered into force on July 1.
“This is only going to make us stronger and better,” she said, according to the Denver Post. “We will win in the end, because we are on the right side,” she told constituents.
Morse and Giron will be replaced by two Republicans, councilman Bernie Herpin and former police officer George Rivera, who opposed the new law which passed without the support of a single Republican.
The new legislation, which limits gun magazines to 15 rounds and requires universal background checks, came after a series of shootings which revived America’s perennial gun control debate.
James Holmes, a mentally unstable student, is accused of killing 12 people when he opened fire in a crowded movie screening in Aurora, outside Denver, in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
And on December 14 last year a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in a massacre which shocked the country.
The National Rifle Association donated some $360,000 to back the recall ballots in Colorado — the first ever use of a state mechanism allowing for lawmakers to be kicked out by popular vote, according to the Denver Post.
An NRA spokesman told the newspaper that it “is proud to have stood with the men and women in Colorado who sent a clear message that their Second Amendment rights are not for sale.”
The Second Amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1791, protects the right to bear arms.