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Recall looms for Colorado lawmaker who supported gun control bill

  • GunControlRecallColo.JPG

    May 24, 2013: Democratic State Senate President John Morse, standing, talks with his field organizer, James Howald, as they and volunteers work on their weekend strategy to encourage voters not to sign petitions for his recall at the Democratic Party offices in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP)

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    May 24, 2013: Paradise Firearms owner Paul Paradis holds a flyer depicting Colorado's State Senate President, Democrat John Morse, together with a petition to recall him, right, at his gun shop in Colorado Springs, Colo. (AP)

A group of gun-rights activists seeking to oust a top Democratic state lawmaker in Colorado over the passage of strict gun control legislation on Monday turned in double the signatures needed to force a recall election.

KDVR reports the group turned in over 16,000 signatures, more than double the 7,178 valid signatures needed, to the Colorado Secretary of State's office in the effort to recall Colorado Senate President John Morse.

“This sends a strong message,” Rob Harris, who delivered three boxes full of petitions to the office, told KDVR. “We’ve obtained enough signatures to recall a state legislator for the first time in the history of Colorado.”

The Secretary of State’s office now has 15 days to determine whether enough of the signatures  are valid, and then Morse's office has another 15 days to contest the validity of the signatures.

Morse tells KDVR he is going to fight the recall effort.

“We’ll go through these signatures with a fine-toothed comb,” Morse told the station. “And we’ll file some protests with the Secretary of State’s office because we know a lot of these signatures were gathered based on misinformation and lies.”

He also insisted he will not resign his seat to avoid a recall election.

“This is a hill worth dying on,” Morse said. “This is a fight worth having; it’s a fight we’ve already had on the floor of the Senate; it’s a fight worth winning.”

Last week, the non-profit America Votes, which lists New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg among its backers, released a video in support of Morse. 

The recall effort is also receiving financial help from national non-profits.  However, Harris claims it was a grassroots effort.

“I ran this recall,” he told KDVR. “Not the N.R.A. It sends a message to Denver and Washington, DC that we, the people, are watching and that we will do something about it.”

The effort against Morse has become a national focus of efforts to push back against lawmakers from moderate districts who support ratcheting back gun rights. 

Gun-rights activists are seeking to recall another Democrat, a senator from Pueblo. Signatures in that effort aren't due until next week.

Click for more from KDVR. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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