Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) issued an apology Monday for a comment he made during Friday's heated debate over gun legislation in Colorado.
While arguing in favor of House Bill 1226, which bans concealed-carry firearms inside of all college campus buildings in the state, Salazar said:
It's why we have call boxes. It's why we have safe zones. That's why we have the whistles, because you just don't know who you're going to be shooting at. And you don't know if you feel like you're going to be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around or if you feel like you're in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop... pop a round at somebody.
Fox31 reports that Republicans were quick to respond to the comment on the House floor. "I'm sorry, a whistle and a call box are not going to help that woman on campus," Rep. Polly Lawrence (R-Littleton) said.
Rep. Lori Saine (R-Dacono) also confronted Salazar over his remark saying, "My daughter’s going to be going off to college in about 10 years. I can’t imagine her only option’s going to be to outrun her attacker to a call box. I think she’s going to be responsible enough to handle a gun."
House Minority leader Mark Waller kept the backlash going on Saturday on Twitter:
— Mark Waller (@Rep_Waller) February 16, 2013
To which Salazar tweeted back:
@rep_waller thanks for playing politics with words I never spoke! Class act!
— Rep. Joe Salazar (@HouseSalazar) February 16, 2013
The statement has gone viral as conservatives and second amendment supporters have ripped the lawmaker to shreds over the comment on blogs, comparing it to Republican Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, who both failed at their Senate runs after making controversial rape comments.
Conservative blog Colorado Peak Politics posted this scathing statement, calling out Democrats to show the same outrage that was shown in the wake of the Akin and Mourdock comments:
Calling the rape police (we mean all you reporters, liberal bloggers and reporter/liberal bloggers who fixated on Ken Buck, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock for the last, oh, 3 or so years): time to ask every Democrat you can think of, starting with Governor John Hickenlooper all the way down to the elected Democrat dog catcher in Buena Vista, whether or not they condemn the insensitive comments about rape made by the eloquent one, Rep. Joe Salazar.
Dana Loesch wrote on conservative blog Red State that this is the "real" war on women:
This is the real “war on women” I’ve talked about: the progressive insistence that women disarm. Women, according to Rep. Salazar, are hysterical things which shoot indiscriminately at any and everything.
This “feel like you’re going to be raped” nonsense is as poorly-worded as the “shut that whole thing down” drama from last fall. If Democrats don’t swiftly condemn this, I see this used as a tactic to showcase the vast lack of respect Democrats have for a woman’s right to self defense.
On Monday the lawmaker issued a formal apology about the statement, The Denver Post reported:
We were having a public policy debate on whether or not guns makes people safer on campus. I don't believe they do. That was the point I was trying to make. If anyone thinks I'm not sensitive to the dangers women face, they're wrong. I am a husband and father of two beautiful girls, and I've spent the last decade defending women's rights as a civil rights attorney.
Fellow Democrat, House Speaker Mark Farrandino, came to Salazar's defense in a written statement. "Whatever his words may have been and however much those words are being taken out of context, he did the right thing to take responsibility. I was there for the entire debate, and the overall point I understood him to be making is that guns on campus don't mean you're more safe."
HB-1226 passed the House on Monday and now heads to the state Senate where it is expected to pass along with three other gun control measures.