Hickenlooper: Second Amendment Is 'An Issue of Freedom,' Gun Owners 'Want to Be Left Alone'

February 22, 2018

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D.) acknowledged Thursday that the debate on gun policy is an "issue of freedom."

Hickenlooper joined MSNBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press Daily" to discuss the debate on gun issues in the wake of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla. Todd asked what was going to come next for the Democratic Party, pointing out that this is a cultural debate.

"And guns, it’s not a policy debate, it's a cultural issue," Todd said.

"It’s an issue of freedom," Hickenlooper replied.

"[Gun owners] want to be left alone and live their lives, and they don't want government in Washington or in Colorado, they don't want government in Denver telling them what to do," Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper then said "you have to go incrementally" in rural states when implementing stricter gun laws.

"Universal background checks, I think is a good place to start, bump stocks" Hickenlooper said.

He said machine guns have been banned for decades, and he suggested that they can get to a "line" on what qualifies as a military-grade weapon.

"I think there's a line there that we're gonna get to where military-grade weapons—certainly we'll raise the age. I think we'll get to 21 years at least for military-grade weapons," Hickenlooper said. "You know, we’ll take those incremental steps first."

Since the Feb. 14 shooting, a debate about guns has gained national attention. During a CNN town hall Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D., Fla.) discussed the previous U.S. assault weapons ban. Deutch expressed support for a ban on AR-15s, calling them "weapons of war."