Colorado is the site of two of the most horrific gun massacres in recent history — Columbine High School in 1999 and an Aurora movie theater last summer. It’s also where two state senators face recall elections next month because they dared support a sensible package of gun-control measures that could make future massacres less likely.

The measures passed both chambers of the state legislature, were signed into law in March and went into effect July 1. They include requiring applicants to pay for background checks and limiting the size of magazines that can be sold.

Pro-gun activists in Colorado were outraged and gathered the signatures needed to stage recall elections for Democrats Angela Giron and John Morse, the Senate president and a former police chief. New York City’s Independent Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has pledged his support for the senators; the National Rifle Association is backing the recall campaign with phone banks and mailings.

Although the recall election directly affects only Colorado, it portends a troubling future in which powerful interest groups such as the National Rifle Association exert an even tighter stranglehold on legislative proceedings than they already do.

Citizens ought to be able to oust elected officials for unethical behavior, as Morse pointed out in the Denver Post. But political disagreements are settled in regular elections; demanding a recall for every such dispute could inhibit lawmakers from governing.

Giron, a first-time senator, would be up for re-election next year; Morse is term-limited in 2014. Colorado taxpayers shouldn’t be subjected to a costly recall effort that puts politicking ahead of policymaking.

Editorial by The Washington Post

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