As Colorado prepares to go live with new gun-control laws next week, the political landscape that favored Democrats at the start of the year has changed. Suddenly, Republicans — who began the year almost powerless after the 2012 election — feel they have a rallying cry and a cause they can use to fuel victories.
In what became the most emotionally charged partisan battle of the legislative session, Democrats with zero Republican support — and even some opposition from within the party — passed new laws that limit ammunition magazines and require universal background checks on all gun sales and transfers.
And with those laws now set to take effect Monday, the political effects of these measures are likely to reign as mobilizing issues for months to come, with Republicans announcing their candidacies in an effort to unseat Democrats in both the state Capitol and the governor’s office.
“It most certainly energizes the GOP base and helps develop this narrative about the Democrats’ control of state government this year,” Ken Bickers, a professor of political science at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said about the new gun laws.