DENVER - A key Republican senator is saying Gov. John Hickenlooper has flip flopped on gun control and has opened the door to discussions that might ban assault weapons in Colorado.
The Democratic governor's office told CALL7's Theresa Marchetta Hickenlooper "has not endorsed any changes to gun laws, but he welcomes the discussion."
Hours earlier, Hickenlooper comments in The Associated Press stirred legislators, catching some by surprise.
"When you look at what happened in Aurora, a great deal of that damage was from the large magazine on the AR-15 (rifle)," Hickenlooper said. "I think we need to have a discussion and say, 'Where is this appropriate?'"
The remarks seemed to contrast with Hickenlooper's thoughts in the days after the Aurora movie theater slayings that killed 12 and wounded dozens of others this summer. He told CNN at the time: "If there were no assault weapons available -- there were no this or no that -- this guy's going to find something. Right?"
Hickenlooper added, "And, you know, if it wasn't one weapon, it would have been another."
There is more than just debate in the air now. Two legislators tell CALL7 they anticipate several bills restricting gun ownership to be introduced in January.
Sen. Greg Brophy, a Repubilcan, said the Democrats' capture of majorities of both the House and the Senate in the November election set the stage for a battle over gun-control legislation when lawmakers convene in January.
"A lot of my colleagues predicted this would be one of the things that they would do," he said.
He added that he was surprised by the governor's apparent shift in position, accusing him of an "extreme liberal agenda against the Second Amendment."
Senate President-elect John Morse hasn't yet seen specific proposals from Democrats.
"I think we're going to have a conversation this legislative session about how to balance lawful ownership and protect public safety," Morse said. "Of course we want people to be able to hunt, that's a big part of Colorado's culture," Morse said, "but hunting people is not."