Colorado Recall Vote Could Affect Gun Owners Nationally

Voters in Colorado Springs and Pueblo will go to the polls on Sept. 10 to cast ballots in the first recall elections of any state officials in Colorado's 137-year history.

Two Democratic lawmakers -- Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo -- have been singled out for recall by angry Colorado gun owners for supporting sweeping gun control laws adopted earlier this year, including a 15-round magazine limit.

According to the New York Times, the recall drive is seen nationally as a test of whether politicians, largely Democrats, outside big cities and deep-blue coastal states can survive the political fallout of supporting stricter gun laws.

"Legislators should be scared," Becky Mizel, Pueblo's GOP chairwoman told the Times. "We have a battle here."

State Democrats tried to derail the recall in court but, on July 18, a Denver District Court judge ruled the recall petitions were valid, setting in motion the first ever recall election of a state lawmaker in Colorado history.

For Colorado gun-rights supporters, the recall elections are a chance to send a message to any state politician who would support similar legislation. But, if Morse and Giron survive the recall, it might embolden lawmakers in other states to consider proposing more gun control legislation.

On Sept. 10's ballots, voters in the two senate districts must first decide if the incumbent should be recalled and, if so, who should replace them.

In Colorado Springs, recall supporters created a political action committee, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, which collected $19,750 by mid-July to finance the campaign against Morse. Former Colorado Springs City Councilman Bernie Herpin is running for the seat if Morse is recalled.

Former Pueblo police officer, George Rivera, is running for the Pueblo seat if voters recall Giron. Unlike Herpin, who was nominated by the local GOP committee, Rivera garnered more than 1,500 -- 500 more than necessary -- signatures from registered voters to get his name on the Sept. 10 ballot.

The recall campaign against Giron in Pueblo is not only politically significant because of its potential ramifications on the national gun control debate, but also because of the way grassroots activists used technology to galvanize support for the recall.

In what the Washington Times calls "one of the more unlikely insurgencies of the year in American politics, three young plumbers from Pueblo have stunned Colorado's political establishment by doing what many campaign veterans insisted was impossible."

The "plumbers" -- Victor Head, his brother Adam Head, and Ernest Mascarenas -- forced Giron's recall election "armed with little more than a petition, an army of volunteer signature-gatherers and their iPhones," the Times reports.

The "plumbers" gathered more than 13,000 signatures with less than 6 percent deemed invalid by instantly verifying voting status with the state's online voter registration data.

"It's unbelievable. How do these guys get 13,000 people to sign the petition, and [roughly] 12,000 of them are good?" Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli asked. "It's a miracle. And it shows the passion here in Colorado behind this issue."