November 29th, 2015
12:02 PM ET

Hickenlooper: "I’m not willing to say…sit back and accept this as a cost of freedom”

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, Governor of Colorado John Hickenlooper, joined anchor, Brianna Keilar.

 

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Zachary Lilly – Zachary.Lilly@turner.com

 

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Hickenlooper on the shooting in Colorado Springs: “I believe one was a woman.  One was a man. But I don't think - I think that misses the point to try and get into whether the perpetrator - and I - to be honest, I don't even like saying the guy's name.  I don't like making these mass killers into celebrities of some sort, some twisted way. But I don't - whether he was successful or not is beyond the point.  It's - that he was trying to do this is - I don't know - I mean, it's a very, very hard reality to understand and get our arms around it. And, in Colorado, we passed universal background checks.  But, at the same time, in Colorado Springs, it's one of the more conservative parts of the state.  We probably have more people that have licenses for concealed weapons, probably more guns around.  That didn't help. I think, as a - as a state, but as a country, we have got a lot more thinking about this, of how to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of people that are unstable.”

 

Hickenlooper on gun control:  “Well, I think, I mean, we're still - Colorado Springs and I think the whole country is still grieving on this, so, you know, detailed plans probably aren't appropriate. But I think we have to come back and look at all aspects of why these shootings have continued to occur, you know, in Oregon or South Carolina and Colorado.  The frequency is unacceptable.  And I don't - you know, I'm not willing to say, well, we will just have to set - sit back and accept this as a cost of freedom. I think we have to really look at, how do we address - you know, how do we make sure that people have - who are unstable, who have violent histories, you know, if somehow - if a level of domestic violence made it much more difficult to get a weapon, maybe we would not only keep our communities safer, but also cut down on domestic violence at the time.”

 

Hickenlooper responds to categorizing the Colorado Springs shooting as terrorism: “Well, certainly it's - it is a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way, it's a function of the inflammatory rhetoric that we see on all - I mean, so many issues now, there are bloggers, and, you know, talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over and just intense anger. And I think maybe it's time to look at, how do we tone down some of that rhetoric?  Obviously, no one is going to try and reduce free speech in this country, but that rhetoric clearly is - if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced, that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.”

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR:  New York State Police will begin patrolling Planned Parenthood clinics beginning on Monday.  Governor Cuomo called for the additional security measures this weekend in the wake of Friday's shooting at a clinic in Colorado Springs.

 

And joining me now is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.

 

Governor, thanks so much for being with us.  We are certainly thinking of your state during the aftermath of this very terrible holiday weekend.

 

We know at this point that a police officer was murdered during this attack.  There's two other people who were killed as well.  They haven't been identified.  Do you know if either of them were patients or staff of the clinic?

 

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D), COLORADO:  Well, we can't talk about that quite yet.  They haven't released that information publicly.

 

But, certainly, the police officer, Garrett Swasey, was a wonderful person, two kids.  I'm sure you have seen the news clips on him, a wonderful skater, just a wonderful human being.  I mean, this world is the worse for his loss.  I mean, it's - that - that, in itself, is unfathomable.

 

KEILAR:  Yes, six years on the force.  He was responding immediately, as he could, to the shooting there.

 

We did hear from the attorney general calling this an attack on women.  So, I know that you can't - and, certainly, we - we respect that at this point, that you can't identify the other two victims, but were they women?

 

HICKENLOOPER:  Again, I believe one was a woman.  One was a man.

 

But I don't think - I think that misses the point to try and get into whether the perpetrator - and I - to be honest, I don't even like saying the guy's name.  I don't like making these mass killers into celebrities of some sort, some twisted way.

 

But I don't - whether he was successful or not is beyond the point.  It's - that he was trying to do this is - I don't know - I mean, it's a very, very hard reality to understand and get our arms around it.

 

And, in Colorado, we passed universal background checks.  But, at the same time, in Colorado Springs, it's one of the more conservative parts of the state.  We probably have more people that have licenses for concealed weapons, probably more guns around.  That didn't help.

 

I think, as a - as a state, but as a country, we have got a lot more thinking about this, of how to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of people that are unstable.

 

KEILAR:  You're saying those efforts that you helped spearhead obviously didn't prevent this, as you're saying.

 

The president, though, when he responded to this attack, it was with a call for gun control.  And, first of us - first of all, can you tell us anything about the weapons that were used here?  All we know at this point is that there was a long gun, and we really don't know much else.

 

HICKENLOOPER:  Yes.

 

I think, again, the mayor of Colorado Springs, John Suthers, is a former U.S. attorney general, former district attorney, former attorney general of the state.  I'm going to let him reveal the evidence.  That's - he knows that better than anyone.

 

KEILAR:  I guess my question is, is there an argument to be made?  Obviously, you pushed through legislation in the wake of other shootings in your state, but is there an argument to be made, as the president is making, that there is a role for increasing gun control in reaction to this specific shooting?

 

HICKENLOOPER:  Well, I think, I mean, we're still - Colorado Springs and I think the whole country is still grieving on this, so, you know, detailed plans probably aren't appropriate.

 

But I think we have to come back and look at all aspects of why these shootings have continued to occur, you know, in Oregon or South Carolina and Colorado.  The frequency is unacceptable.  And I don't - you know, I'm not willing to say, well, we will just have to set - sit back and accept this as a cost of freedom.

 

I think we have to really look at, how do we address - you know, how do we make sure that people have - who are unstable, who have violent histories, you know, if somehow - if a level of domestic violence made it much more difficult to get a weapon, maybe we would not only keep our communities safer, but also cut down on domestic violence at the time.

 

I'm just throwing that out as one - one of many things we have got to think about of how to try and keep guns out of the hands of people that are violent and unstable.

 

KEILAR:  Governor, we have reported that there were propane tanks near the suspect's car that he intended to explode.  That is something that could have caused tremendous damage.  Do you think the carnage could have been even worse here?

 

HICKENLOOPER:  Well, I think the first-responders - and I visited three police officers in the hospital yesterday - their efforts were remarkable.

 

And the level of courage and bravery that they exhibited, I mean, when they got the call, they went right into - right into action.  So, without question, it could have been worse on - it could have been worse on a lot of levels.

 

KEILAR:  I do want to ask you a final question here.

 

Planned Parenthood, almost immediately, even before we exactly knew the facts or anything about the motivation here - we now know that the shooter referenced baby parts when he was arrested.  Planned Parenthood is calling this domestic terrorism.  Do you agree with that assessment?

 

HICKENLOOPER:  Well, certainly it's - it is a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way, it's a function of the inflammatory rhetoric that we see on all - I mean, so many issues now, there are bloggers, and, you know, talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over and just intense anger.

 

And I think maybe it's time to look at, how do we tone down some of that rhetoric?  Obviously, no one is going to try and reduce free speech in this country, but that rhetoric clearly is - if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced, that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.

 

KEILAR:  So, are you calling - just to sort of see what you're saying here a little more clearly, are you calling for changes in blogging, in video games?

 

HICKENLOOPER:  No, no, I'm not - I'm in no way trying to limit free speech.

 

I think that the - our community, right, the United States of America, ought to begin a discussion looking at, how do you begin to tone back the inflammatory rhetoric that, in some ways, it might be good for, I don't know, selling products and advertisements or whatever, but, in some way, it is inflaming people to the point where they can't stand it, and they go out and they lose connection with reality in some way and commit these acts of unthinkable violence.

 

I'm not saying that we restrict people's freedom of speech, nowhere, nowhere near that.  But I think we should have a discussion of, you know, at least urging caution when we discuss some of these issues, so that we don't get people to a point of going out and committing senseless violence.

 

KEILAR:  Governor Hickenlooper, thank you so much.

 

And we do want you to know that our thoughts and prayers are with your state and certainly the people of Colorado Springs.

 

HICKENLOOPER:  Thank you very much.  Appreciate that.

 

###END INTERVIEW###

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