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Gov. To Sheriffs: 'I Apologize' For How Gun Legislation Was Passed

DENVER (CBS4) - Gov. John Hickenlooper gave a lot of ammunition to his critics in Colorado's gun control debate during an event with county sheriffs from across the state.

Hickenlooper apologized for not meeting with the sheriffs during last year's controversial gun control debate, insisting that he didn't know they wanted to talk. He said if he had known more, he might have taken a different stance.

"I'll tell you the funny story, and it is a weird ... I think we screwed that up," he said.

Hickenlooper didn't just put his foot in his mouth -- according to CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd -- he seemed to get it stuck there. He repeatedly told the sheriffs if he had only had more information he might not have signed the gun laws that he did.

"So we were performing legislation without basic facts, which I think it a bad idea in every case. It took almost a month to get the facts. By that time I had pissed you guys off ... I, there was passed legislation that I had said I was going to sign."

WEB EXTRA VIDEO: Hickenlooper's Controversial Comments (credit: Revealing Politics)

"I apologize. I don't think we did a good job on any of that stuff."

Yet the governor's spokesman confirms the office had extensive research and says in addition to the dozens of hearings, Hickenlooper spoke to people on both sides of the issue. That included former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control activist, although the governor denied it.

"Let's stick to the facts. I never talked to Mayor Bloomberg. Again, that's been out in the press and all this stuff and just for the record, you know, I met Mayor Bloomberg when I was a mayor and I know him. I think he was a pretty good mayor."

While the governor ultimately didn't back off his decision to sign the bills, he expressed doubts about the high capacity magazine ban.

"I went back to try and get some facts that we should have had in the beginning. They told me that (there are) roughly 300,000 magazines that carry more than 15 rounds in the state of Colorado already. Allright, so A) how is a police enforcement officer going to tell which one is the old one and the new one. And if we had known that this was going to divide the state so intensely I think we would have thought about it twice.

The governor says by the time he got all the information, one of his staff members had already said the governor would sign the high capacity magazine ban. So says he felt obligated.

DOMINIC DEZZUTTI'S BLOG: Hickenlooper's Misstep Re-stokes the 2013 Gun Debate

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