The following is a transcript of an interview with Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado that aired Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: We turn now to Colorado’s Democratic Governor Jared Polis who has stuck with us through some technical difficulties. And governor, I understand you hear me now, so let’s get straight to it. I’m sorry for what your state has recently gone through with this horrendous shooting at Club Q. It sounds like the shooter had a handgun and an AR-15 style rifle. Can you confirm that he illegally purchased them? Or were these unregistered ghost guns?
COLORADO GOV. JARED POLIS: It has been reported that at least one of the guns was-was a ghost gun, by different media outlets. All of these facts will emerge in the coming days and weeks. Obviously, right now our-our heart is with the victims, five people who lost their lives, their families, dozens of others injured and of course, many traumatized. Another example of a law that could have been used in this instance, successfully, is a red flag law which we have in Colorado, but it’s really up to the local law enforcement entity how to use it. In cases like this where somebody can potentially be a danger, or there are signs that they are a danger, we have a legal way to temporarily remove custody of any weapons they might have. And this is an example of a case where it might have been used.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Well, I want to ask you about that because President Biden said it was ridiculous that red flag laws are not being enforced, just based on the knowledge of this shooter rather than relying on his or her parents. Is the President correct? And are you saying right now that your local law enforcement was choosing not to enforce the law?
GOV. POLIS: So right now, in Colorado, you could have parents or family members go for an extreme risk protection order or red flag law? That’s fairly common. It wasn’t you pursued in this instance by the mother. You can also have a local sheriff agency do it, in this case, it wasn’t pursued by the local sheriff agency, I’m sure what will be looked into is why wasn’t it pursued? What-what I think we’re going to look at in Colorado is potentially expanding that, for instance, so DAs can also seek extreme risk protection orders. We also need to make sure that we publicize the law and make sure that the tools are in people’s hands when they need it to remove dangerous weapons that could be used for self harm or harming others from somebody who’s in a mental health crisis.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You said last week, you didn’t know yet if the shooter was motivated by anti LGBTQ rhetoric, or if it was a personal motive. Have you seen any evidence it was a hate crime? And does the fact that the shooter identifies as nonbinary influence this in any way does this suggest anything to you?
GOV. POLIS: Well no, on the second point of the shooters identity has nothing to do with whether a hate crime was committed or not. I want to be clear in Colorado, if you kill five people, you’re behind bars the rest of your life, this young man once convicted, and I believe he will be convicted because the evidence is overwhelming, will never be able to be freed from a jail cell husband in the rest of the day behind bars. The hate crimes on top of that can be used to augment the sentence they can be used for acknowledging the fact that a- the LGBT community was traumatized. But again, the murder alone will send this person behind bars for the rest of his life.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The President has also renewed his call for an assault weapons ban. It sounds like the details of this case may be more complicated than that. If part of this was not a registered gun at all. In the past, you were against an assault weapons ban, when you were in Congress back in 2013. You change your position in 2018. Given that you’re the chief executive of the state now, would you like to see an assault weapons ban?
GOV. POLIS: Well, I would say, look we learned from-from each instance. But you also have to look at all the causes. So is there a way to improve gun safety out of this to make sure that red flag laws are-are used? Not only, he had a pistol and a semi-automatic weapon? Do we need better laws on-on ghost guns? Do we need to make sure that we have a better process around semi-automatic weapons open to all of those. We also need to pursue the mental health aspect of this and other shooting incidences, what and how did this fall through the cracks? We need to pursue the anti-LGBT rhetoric aspect of this. I think whether it will be the case in this case or not, clearly the type of rhetoric out there that divides one group of Americans against another Consent somebody over the top and tragically inspire them to an act of violence. We need to focus on national healing, bringing people together and really treating one another as brothers and sisters.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I think people can agree, I hope with at least that. Governor thank you for your time today and thank you for sticking with us through those technical difficulties and the delay that you all heard.