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US voters kick out gun control politicians

National Rifle Association backs campaign to remove two Colorado Democrats who enacted law after Aurora cinema shooting.

Last Modified: 12 Sep 2013 02:10
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Both politicians said they were proud of their achievements on gun control [Reuters]

Voters in the state of Colorado have kicked out two US politicians who promoted tighter gun controls after last year's Aurora cinema shooting, which killed 12 people.

State senate president, John Morse, and senator Angela Giron, both Democrats, were kicked out in a historically unprecedented recall election. The pro-gun National Rifle Association part funded the campaign for the poll.

Morse, who signed into law a bill boosting gun control rules after the  Aurora shootings in July last year and the Newtown school massacre in December, was forced out on a 51 to 49 percent vote. Giron lost by 56 to 44 percent. Both stood by their decision to back tougher gun controls.

"The loss of an election is nothing when weighed against the loss of lives to gun violence," Morse said in a statement. "I am proud of the fact that we made Colorado safer. The recall election didn't change the fact that sensible gun safety laws are now in effect.

'No regrets'

"I do not regret acting after the horrific massacres we suffered, and I do not regret standing up against the powerful gun lobby to do what was right."

Giron, who voted in favour of the gun control legislation, which entered into force on July 1, added: "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.

"This is only going to make us stronger and better," she told 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.

Mass shootings

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 US history.

And on December 14 last year a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

The NRA donated $360,000 to back the recall ballots in Colorado - the first ever use of a state mechanism allowing for politicians to be kicked out by popular vote, according to the Denver Post newspaper.

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 US constitution, adopted in 1791, states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

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