Now it’s official. If you were wondering when Republicans at the state legislature would finally overreach on guns, you can circle Feb. 12 on your calendar.
And it was Bernie Herpin, the recall senator, who pushed his party over the line. Yes, way over the line.
In defending a bill that would repeal the 15-round magazine limit, Herpin was asked whether the law, passed last year, would have stopped James Holmes from buying the 100-round magazine he used at the Aurora theater killings. Herpin answered that it was “maybe a good thing” that Holmes had a 100-round magazine because large magazines tend to jam.
Herpin didn’t stop there. “If he had instead had four, five, six 15-round magazines,” he said, “there’s no telling how much damage he could have done until a good guy with a gun showed up.”
Fox 31, which first tweeted the story, has the audio. You can fill in your own gasp. You can imagine what Senate committee witness Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was killed that day, said.
“I’ve had a lot of thoughts since July 20, 2012, but never once did I think anyone was better off because the shooter brought a hundred round drum into that theater,” Sullivan said, according to Fox 31. “Alex never had a chance. He was watching a movie one second and the next he was dead. The fact is, if the shooter had to change his magazine that would have been a chance for Alex to survive.”
Herpin was apparently trying to make the point that big magazines aren’t so dangerous because they jam. So was he saying that we should we ban all those dangerous 15-rounders? Of course not. He was saying … I don’t know what he was saying.
In the July 20 shooting in which 12 were killed and dozens wounded, the 100-round magazine apparently jammed after 45 rounds. According to reports, Holmes then picked up a Glock handgun. He had reportedly purchased large magazines for the Glock as well.
Herpin’s argument is absurd on its face. But imagine making it in front of victims’ families.
Asked directly by the Denver Post whether he thought it was OK for Holmes to have a 100-round magazine, Herpin tried again: “No, I don’t think it was good for him to be in the theater to begin with.”
It was Herpin, of course, who won his Senate seat in the successful recall of Sen. John Morse. What hasn’t been successful is the Republican repealathon of last year’s modest gun laws. At most of the committee hearings, the repealers have been heavily outnumbered. And at this committee hearing, the repealers must have wished that, whatever the numbers, they’d had at least one less senator.