Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Describing Colorado's rural-urban divide in the context of a recall over gun legislation

Here's how Jack Healy does it in today's NYT story regarding next Tuesday's election, in which pro-gun forces are seeking to recall two Colorado state senators who supported the gun control law passed earlier this year:
Colorado’s vote is being watched closely around the nation as a litmus test of how voters respond to new gun measures in a swing state with an ingrained culture of hunting, sport shooting and gun ownership.
* * * 
The passions on display in the recall effort also represent a widening rift in the state’s identity, some analysts say, between the Colorado of F-150s, hunting trips and rural towns, and the Colorado of Subarus, ski passes and downtown lofts.
The law that prompted the recall is one that most Democrats see as moderate.  It requires background checks on private gun sales and limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. 

Healy quotes Eric Sondermann, a political analyst in Denver:  
There’s symbolic importance to both sides.  If they’re recalled, it would be interpreted as a rejection of the gun control agenda, a rejection of what Colorado passed. If these two prevail, then maybe that’s one more nick in the armor of the N.R.A. and the gun advocates.
The more colorful quote, however, is from Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners:
The peasants have grabbed ahold of their pitchforks and torches.
Healy also quotes Jon Caldera, president of the Independence Institute, a Colorado libertarian research group:  
A decision needs to be made in this state.  Are we going to be an urban-centric state where urbanites choose what happens, or will this be a state like Colorado has traditionally been, where we have the liberty and freedom for different communities to do different things?
An earlier post about the recall election is here, and this one is about the proposed law before its passage.

NPR also reported on the recall election on Sept. 3.  Listen to that report here.  That story doesn't touch on the rural-urban divide in Colorado, but it does note that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's contributions in support of the gun control measure and of lawmakers Morse and Giron (the objects of the recall efforts) has made for another controversy across the rural-urban (and east coast/mountain west) axis.  Kurtis Lee, a political reporter for the Denver Post had this to say about pro-recall ads that say Bloomberg is pulling John Morse's strings:
to be called an East Coast liberal here in Colorado, that's nothing that a Democrat in Colorado wants to hear. It's almost a scarlet letter on your chest if you're labeled that in Colorado.

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