In January 2013, the Colorado legislature was in the process of debating a number of gun control bills, all of which seemed very likely to pass. One by one, the bills passed (the most notable being the magazine ban, universal background checks and the $10 fee to process said background check). This was all lead by the then Senate President, John Morse. John Morse, at one point, went on national television to brag about ignoring the thousands of emails pleading him to vote no on these laws. He also admitted to telling his cohorts to ignore their constituents. It seems odd that so many voices, saying the same thing, were a burden to him.
In light of these transgressions, a rumbling began in Durango, CO. Two men, discussing politics in a small engine repair shop, began whispering the word “recall”. These whispers grew louder and louder. The Basic Freedom Defense Fund had been born and the group was beginning to organize a recall against Representative Mike McLaughlin, the same man who brought the magazine ban to bear.
As the idea of recall began to gain traction, Timothy Knight held a meeting at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs. People from around the state, including Keith Coniglio and Luke Wagner, showed up at this meeting to learn more about these recalls. The purpose of this meeting was to begin organizing to recall John Morse.
As time went on, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund began to hear from “the pros” around the state. We heard that we were wasting our time, we should just wait until the elections in 2014, that this wasn’t going to work or have the effect we were hoping for. In light of so many telling us to stop, we forged ahead, political novices attempting to do what we were told was impossible.
None of us had ever been involved in politics before. Frankly, none of us wanted to be involved in politics. We wanted to continue on, living our lives in a free Colorado. The legislature’s actions goaded us into become activists. The lack of response from “the pros” prompted us to stand up for ourselves and take matters into our own hands. We the people would not lie down and go quietly about our lives. We were not about to let our beloved state become the next California or New York.
Fast forward to the fall of 2013…our petitions had been verified and approved by the secretary of state, the national media had taken notice and the governor had set an election date of September 10th. We were all set to be the first in state history to recall a state legislator. Even the pros that said we couldn’t do it were now on board and helping to ensure victory. This was it. This was the moment that Coloradans would understand what dedicated citizens could do to affect their government. This was the ultimate use of the 1st amendment.
On September 10th, 2013, Senators John Morse and Angela Giron were recalled from office. They were fired. We were beyond words at what we had just accomplished. To this day it still hasn’t fully set in that we not only made history, but potentially changed Colorado’s future. It wasn’t long after our success, that we began whispering again. We began talking about taking our successes, our failures – our lessons – to a whole new level. We began nurturing the idea of the Colorado Second Amendment Association.
During the recalls, we made many allies and met many different people that wanted to support what we were doing. People that wanted to be involved as well as people that had been involved since those fateful debates in early 2013. With the help of people like Kimberly Weeks and Katherine Whitney, we started our long journey to continue working within Colorado and with Coloradans to preserve and expand not only our 2nd amendment rights, but the shooting community as a whole. Thus, the Colorado Second Amendment Association was born.