That comes as no surprise. Gardner has been offering platitudes after shootings since shortly after he defeated incumbent senator Mark Udall in November 2014, and by now, he's got the formula down pat. We've collected Gardner's reactions to thirteen shootings since 2015, and as you can see, he relies heavily on mentions of prayers, broken hearts, his similarly bereft wife, Jaime, and the bravery of first responders.
Gardner is widely seen as the most vulnerable Republican senator up for election in 2020, in part because of the blue Democratic wave that swept through the state last November. But gun issues are also a potential Achilles heel, as witnessed by the protest scheduled for 8 a.m. today, August 5, at Gardner's 1961 Stout Street office that's been organized by senatorial challenger Mike Johnston. Although Colorado has seen more than its share of mass shootings, Gardner routinely opposes progressive gun legislation — and critics believe he's in the pocket of the National Rifle Association, which has donated more than $3.8 million to him over the years.
Nonetheless, Gardner tries to come across as a compassionate conservative after eruptions of firearms violence, as seen in the following statements, culled from his Twitter account and press release archive. In chronological order:
1. November 27, 2015 press release
Gardner Statement on Colorado Springs Tragedy (shootings at Planned Parenthood facility)
Washington, DC — Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the below statement following the tragic events in Colorado Springs today:
"Jaime and I are deeply saddened by the events that unfolded in Colorado Springs earlier today. This senseless act of violence is truly tragic and our hearts are with the victims and their families during this difficult time.
"The Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado Springs Fire Department, El Paso County Sheriff's Office, State Patrol, and federal law enforcement agencies bravely responded to the initial call for help, and quickly worked to contain and stabilize the situation. Our first responders displayed tremendous bravery, and I am grateful for their service and ongoing sacrifice to keep our local community safe."