Hickenlooper: 'We are the terrorists against ourselves' on gun laws

Hickenlooper: 'We are the terrorists against ourselves' on gun laws
© Greg Nash

The Democratic governor of Colorado thinks mass shootings are a form of domestic terrorism, this week blaming the ongoing fear on the failure of politicians to tackle gun safety.

“We’re doing that to ourselves. We are the terrorists against ourselves,” Gov. John Hickenlooper told The Hill during an interview on the sidelines of the National Governors Association annual conference this week.

Hickenlooper's state previously experienced mass shooting tragedies at Columbine High School, in 1999, and a movie theater in Aurora, in 2012. 


He also urged Republicans to raise the age for the legal purchase of certain rifles and support universal background checks for gun sales.

During a conversation Thursday with The Hill’s Power Politics podcast, the Democratic governor serving the final year of his term said GOP resistance to gun restrictions in his state and in Congress is a function of “political leverage.”

But it’s possible the issues have reached a “tipping point” that could push elected leaders toward reforms, Hickenlooper added.

“I’m continually amazed that Washington can do so little, and talk about that so much,” he said of the national debate about guns and school safety that has reignited following the shooting deaths of 17 teenagers and adults at a Parkland, Fla., high school.

“Colorado is not that different from Congress in that there are a lot of safe districts for both Republicans and Democrats,” he added, referencing the impact of gun rights issues on politicians in his state.

“If you’re in one of those safe districts and you’re a Republican, your threat is from the far right," he said, noting that conservatives largely oppose increased gun restrictions. 

Hickenlooper also discussed bipartisan health care recommendations developed with Govs. John Kasich (R) of Ohio and Bill Walker (I) of Alaska, and why he thinks Democratic candidates need to talk about economic proposals this year. 

This week’s Power Politics, featuring full-length interviews with both Hickenlooper and Walker, can be heard Saturday at TheHill.com, and on the “HillCast” feed wherever podcasts are found.

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