Colorado Representative Joe Salazar's remark about rape on campus, shooting wrong person, goes viral

Salazar issues apology

DENVER - A Colorado lawmaker's comments on the gun control debate have gone viral.

It happened during debate on House Bill 1226 last week. The bill would outlaw concealed-carry permit holders from carrying guns in university buildings.

Representative Joe Salazar, a Democrat from Thornton, said he was concerned a woman who felt like she was being followed and felt like she was going to be raped, could shoot at the wrong person.

"Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna 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," Salazar said on the floor of the House.

“It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, that's why we have the whistles," said Salazar.

While Salazar's Facebook page has a mere 71 fans. However, within 14 hours, 75 people left comments on his page.

"I hope you realize how ridiculous it sounds," said Tony Scobee. "'Hold on, you can't rape me, I'm in a safe zone' or 'Please don't rape me right now, I'm too far from that call box over there.'"

"Really? Women don't need the ability to protect themselves from rapists? Call boxes and safe zones will prevent it? What rock did you craw out from under?" wrote David Horvath.

The Denver Post reports that Salazar issued an apology on Monday.

"We were having a public policy debate on whether or not guns makes people safer on campus. I don't believe they do," he said. "That was the point I was trying to make. If anyone thinks I'm not sensitive to the dangers women face, they're wrong. I am a husband and father of two beautiful girls, and I've spent the last decade defending women's rights as a civil rights attorney."

House Republican women were quick to condemn Salazar’s actions.

“Questioning a woman’s judgment over whether or not she is about to be raped is insensitive and insulting to women everywhere,” said Rep. Polly Lawrence, R-Littleton. “No matter what sort of policy position you’re trying to advance, questioning the rational ability of women to perceive threats around them is something Democrat leaders should condemn.”

Rep. Carole Murray, R-Castle Rock, added:

“‘I’m sorry if you were offended’ isn’t an apology; it’s a line in the sand. Democrats place more faith in a criminal’s respect of a ‘safe zone,’ than they do in law-abiding women’s discretion to defend themselves. Cloaking their position by painting women as overly emotional and reactive is an outrageous tactic that should have every woman in Colorado calling on the Governor and the Speaker to condemn, as I am now.”

Salazar wrote on his Facebook page over the weekend that he received his first death threat last week during the gun control debate.

"I was disappointed that the caller believed that threatening my life would result in me changing a vote or would scare me toward his position," Salazar wrote.

He said he is one of two Democrats who have worked to soften the gun legislation being debated this session.