Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Thursday that "the time is right" for state lawmakers to consider gun control measures, offering his firmest stance in the aftermath of several high-profile shootings, including a movie theater rampage in suburban Denver, that have shocked the nation.
The Democratic governor had until now resisted calls to review state gun laws. He upset some in his party when he said last summer that stricter laws would not have prevented the Aurora rampage.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Hickenlooper said that the legislative session in January would be an appropriate time to take up a debate on gun control measures, though he didn't call for specific legislation.
Former graduate student James Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 70 others in the July shootings.
Outside one Colorado Springs movie theater, voter Sue'ana Romero applauded the governor's remarks.
When I go into a movie theater, I think it's a safe environment," said Romero. "If someone came in with a gun, I'd freak out. And then kids can get ahold of guns, too, and use them for all the wrong reasons. And that also causes school shootings."
Opponents of gun control laws said such laws don't stop people intent on breaking those laws.
"Don't react politically, don't react emotionally," said Amy Lathen, chairwoman of the El Paso County Board of Commissioners. "Let's look at this from the science of it, the statistics of it, the truth of it, and let's make sure we're not hurting law-abiding citizens."
Robert Holmes owns the Whistling Pines Gun Club just east of the city. He said he's sensitive to public concern about gun violence.
"(James Holmes) has the same last name I do," he said. "But (changes in law) would be a pure waste of the legislature's time."
Robert Holmes said ethics might be more effective in stopping violent shootings.
"A lot of the shootings are copycats," he said. "Don't tell who the (shooter) is. Don't make this guy a media hero. And for God's sake, don't make other people think this is their one chance to get 15 seconds of fame, to go into a mall in Oregon and shoot somebody."
Former Republican Rep. Mark Barker of Colorado Springs believes the legislature will discuss gun control because Democrats are the majority at the state capitol.
"I doubt the governor would have made those comments without talking with Democrats about it first," said Barker.