During a March 8 speech on the floor of the legislature, Colorado Senate President John Morse insinuated that many rights-respecting gun owners have a “sickness” in their “souls” that must be “cleansed.”
In a July 28 op-ed, I invited Morse to retract his insinuation: “If he is prepared to say that rights-respecting people who own their guns of choice and who campaign for gun rights are perfectly moral to do so—now would be a great time for Morse to clarify his remarks.”
To date, I have not heard back from Morse, despite leaving a message on his FaceBook page (a message that was quickly deleted by Morse’s team) on July 30 and leaving voice messages with Morse and with his chief of staff, Kjersten Forseth (former executive director of the far-left group ProgressNow Colorado), on the morning of July 31.
Morse did, however, publish additional comments about his March 8 “sickness” speech with a March 13 video of that speech—comments of which I was not previously aware. (Thanks to Jason Salzman for notifying me of the existence of this video and its accompanying remarks.) Although these additional remarks clarify that Morse was not claiming that all gun owners have a sickness in their souls, they do not retract Morse’s insinuation that many gun owners—namely, those who own the types of guns and gun magazines of which Morse disapproves and who campaigned against the Democrats’ anti-gun legislation—do have a sickness in their souls, in Morse’s view.
In his March 13 comments, Morse states, “You will see that I never reference gun owners [in the March 8 speech]. In fact, I am a gun owner myself and deeply believe in protecting this right.” However, Morse certainly did reference gun owners in his March 8 speech.
Specifically, Morse referred to “a powerful lobbying effort” against the Democrat-led anti-gun bills that Morse promoted in this past legislative session. Obviously, those who lobbied against the anti-gun bills were, for the most part, gun owners. Morse explicitly accused this “lobbying effort” of contributing to criminal violence, and this is the context in which he offered his “sickness” remarks.
Morse also states that “cleansing a sickness from our souls” is necessary, in part, because of the “hatred and vitriol” that “reached its heights just this week as we’ve been considering these bills in committee and we’ve been preparing to consider them today on the floor.” In this comment, Morse intentionally conflates the disgusting threats sent by a deranged individual to a state representative with the lobbying efforts of rights-respecting gun owners against anti-gun bills.
Perhaps I need to ask Morse more specific questions, so I will do so here.
1. Senator Morse, do you believe that gun owners who own semi-automatic guns with magazines larger than 15 rounds have a sickness in their souls that should be cleaned, or do you believe that rights-respecting Coloradans are perfectly moral to own such guns and magazines?
2. Senator Morse, do you believe that the gun owners who lobbied against the Democrat-led gun-restriction bills in this past legislative session have a sickness in their souls that should be cleansed, or do you believe that rights-respecting Coloradans are perfectly moral to lobby against such bills?
Colorado awaits your answers.
Author and blogger Ari Armstrong edits the Free Colorado website