During the last presidential campaign, Republicans were put in an awkward position by Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin's comments about "legitimate rape;" remember how Mitt Romney dodged a CBS4 question about it? Now, however, a Colorado Democrat, state rep Joe Salazar, is the person backpedaling from a rape comment (about college women and guns), and Republicans are the ones making hay. Get details and see the video below.
On Friday, Salazar was arguing in favor of HB 1226, a bill to ban guns on college campuses, when he said the following about what he characterized as "gender inequality" at such institutions:
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.
Here's the video of these comments:
Recognizing an opportunity, the folks at the conservative blog Revealing Politics jumped on these comments. The site's post previews the video via the following lead-in: "Feel like you're going to be raped? Well, maybe you're wrong. So goes the justification for Representative Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) to take a away the right for a woman with a concealed carry permit to defend herself while on a Colorado college campus."
The post adds:
House Bill 13-1226 to prohibit the lawful concealed carry on Colorado college campuses passed the Colorado House of Representatives this morning. Many of the arguments Democrats used to justify the bill included the alcohol and drug use common on campuses coupled with the age and immaturity of average college students. These arguments didn't resonate with many Republican lawmakers and opponents of the bill who cited Colorado's intensive training process for obtaining a concealed carry permit and the state's requirement that permit-holders be 21 years of age, as rebuttal.
Revealing Politics' implication? Dems fear female college students are so jittery -- or perhaps so frequently blitzed -- that they can't be trusted to pack heat.
Salazar quickly attempted to pour cold water on the controversy, telling 9News, "I'm sorry if I offended anyone. That was absolutely not my intention... If anyone thinks I'm not sensitive to the dangers women face, they're wrong." And House Speaker Mark Ferrandino defended his colleague in a statement that reads, ""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."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
HB 1226 passed the House yesterday despite the controversy, and it seems on track to do likewise in the Senate. But Salazar's remarks have certainly fired up the opposition. Take this comment from the Revealing Politics item:
This guy needs to go to te next young lady that has just been violated and say those words to her when the diffence between being raped is the right to concealed carry for protection from a 300 pound brute. This guy is stuck on stupid in a major way.
More from our Politics archive: "Videos: Mitt Romney's Todd 'Legitimate Rape' Akin dodge overshadows CBS4 interview."