When a pair of Colorado lawmakers were recalled last month in a referendum on gun control, opponents had this to console them: At least, they said, the twin defeats did not alter the balance of power in Denver, the state capital. Now gun rights advocates are looking to change that. Organizers have received official go-ahead to start gathering signatures in a bid to oust state Sen. Evie Hudak, a Democrat from the Denver suburb of Westminister, who was the target of a failed recall petition drive earlier this year. The group, certified by Colorado’s secretary of State, has until Dec. 3 to collect just over 18,900 signatures to force a vote. The stakes: control of the state Senate, which Democrats hold by a tenuous 18-17 edge. Hudak, who is in her second term, was one of four lawmakers originally targeted after the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a series of sweeping gun controls in response to mass shootings last year in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn. The measures, signed into law by Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, include a requirement for universal background checks and a limit on ammunition magazines like the one used in the July 2012 theater shootings in Aurora, another suburb of Denver.
The efforts against Hudak and a Democratic representative from Durango fizzled. But state Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo were ousted Sept. 10 in the first legislative recall in state history. Unlike Morse, who would have been term-limited after 2014, and Giron, who was up for reelection next year, Hudak’s term does not expire until November 2016.
Even with Democrats controlling both sides of the statehouse, efforts are underway to repeal or alter some of the gun control legislation lawmakers passed this year. The Denver Post reported that House and Senate Republicans are poised to present a series of bills in 2014 that could force Democrats to reopen the gun debate just in time for the midterm elections.