Senator John Morse: Standing Up For His Beliefs

1442 words - 6 pages

“Violence breeds violence; repression breeds retaliation; and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.” said Colorado State Senate President John Morse as he quoted Robert F. Kennedy in a senate chamber filled with tension. Not unlike, Robert Kennedy, Morse stood up for what thought was right, he made a conscientious decision that cost him his political career. He decided to take a stance at a time when the nation was mourning the Aurora shootings in which James Holmes, shot and killed twelve people while injuring seventy others. Morse was petitioning to have a bill passed in the Colorado state legislature that would make gun manufactures and private sellers legally liable for the deaths of innocent people such as the victims of the Aurora shooting (Tomisic and Fields). He decided to take a stance at a time when the nation was mourning those who were killed and injured in that shooting. Morse was also criticized for lending crucial support to a gun-control bill that Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law in the wake of the Aurora shooting. In the words of President Kennedy, Morse “made the Senate something more than a mere collection of robots dutifully recording the views of their constituents”(Kennedy 18). Knowing it would cost him his career, instead of choosing to go along Morse did what he thought was best for his state.
“I just go back to Dec. 14 and July 20, and think about the families that had to bury their children” said Morse, referring to the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings in which Adam Lanza murdered twenty children and six educators. He wanted to pass the bill to make Colorado safer, after the state was home to two of the most tragic shootings in American history: Columbine and Aurora.(Columbine was one the largest school shootings in which two teenagers killed twelve people while wounding seven others.) He was grief stricken by the magnitude of the shootings and what the family’s had to go through. Morse was a major proponent of passing gun laws in Colorado that required universal background checks on private firearms sales, and restricted ammunition clips to fifteen rounds (Healy). Colorado is a state that has a large number of gun-owners, thus Morse’s votes were not popular with his constituents; he also came under intense pressure from the National Rifle Association. Morse typically represented the views of his constituents, he was not pro-gun per se, but had not helped pass major legislation that regulated the use of firearms. He was elected to the state senate in 2006, re-elected in 2010 and later served as Senate President. By sponsoring a instrumental gun-control bill, he risked his career while putting himself at odds with his constituents.

Morse knew the vote would infuriate his constituents, but he went on and did it “in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures.” (Kennedy 225). “There may be a cost for me to pay, but I am more than...

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