Hickenlooper Wants More Gun Tracking, Says Race Relations Are Improving

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Photo: Hickenlooper State of State SoS 1.14.16 (AP)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper delivers his annual State of the State address to lawmakers and guests, inside the state legislature, in Denver, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.

In light of recent shootings by police and people of color in Louisiana, Dallas, and Minnesota, Gov. John Hickenlooper says he is trying to diagnose the problem of gun violence.

In an interview with Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner, the governor says he is inspired by two panels he spoke on recently, at the Aspen Ideas Festival and a Reuters forum in New York City. One idea he heard that he likes is to track guns as they cross state lines; he particularly praised a program started by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to follow guns used in violent crimes.

The governor would also like to diagnose the problem of voter anger in the 2016 election cycle, which he plans to address when he speaks next week at the Democratic National Convention.

"I think part of it at least is coming from how rapidly our economy, I mean whole careers are vanishing in a decade, and it's very difficult to get people trained and transitioned into whole new careers," Hickenlooper says.

In the interview with Warner, the governor also addresses how Colorado's population growth could contribute to wildfires here, and why it's important to attract entrepreneurs to the state; and says he is considering assigning Attorney General Cynthia Coffman as a special prosecutor to continue the investigation into the murder of former Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements.

Hickenlooper declined to comment on whether he will be chosen as the vice presidential running mate for presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Hickenlooper on the state of race relations in America:

"Look at race relationships as a whole. We have come so far, and yet, let's be honest, we've still got a long way to go... In any change over a long period of time, there are always going to be setbacks. I mean, every great social revolution in the history of this country and the history of the world, the successes have been built on many, many failures."

On what he can do as governor to reduce and prevent police violence:

"Part of what a governor does is support the local municipalities and mayors everywhere. [Denver] Mayor [Michael] Hancock doesn't have all the tools he needs [to get rid of "bad apples" in the police force], but it's much better than it was 10-12 years ago...

"And I've always, it's blatantly unfair that police officers that have perfect reputations, have never done anything wrong, their lives are put at risk by those bad apples. People are uncomfortable talking about it, but I think it's real. And we changed the discipline matrix some years ago in Denver [when I was mayor] and now a number of police forces have followed suit around the state, so that even lying about an incident, the first time, you can be fired now."

On why he wrote a commentary for CNBC called, "Colorado is the best for small business:"

"When you write things like that, one thing you are trying to do is get certain types of people -- people that are entrepreneurs or people that have businesses... And that increases the number of jobs for the citizens of Colorado, increases their choices. One of the things we spend a lot of time focused on is: How do we get our citizens to get higher wages?"

On whether he'll continue the investigation into Clements' murder in 2013:

"I am in conversation with the attorney general. I am fully aware of what the choices are. Hopefully in the next couple weeks we'll be able to figure out what the appropriate path is."