Blogger missed Morse’s confirmation that Morse was referring to violence as being a sickness

Conservative blogger Ari Armstrong published a post Sunday with the headline: “Will Senator Morse clarify his remarks on gun owners having ‘sickness’ in their ‘souls’?”

This should be corrected because, in March, after Morse’s quote was being twisted by opponents, Morse did “confirm” his statement on the Colorado Senate Democrats’ YouTube page.

There, Morse confirmed the obvious, that, when he quoted Martin Luther King in a speech during the gun debate in the State Legislature, he was referring to violence in society as a “sickness in our souls.” He wasn’t referencing gun owners, he wrote.

Morse: I would like to thank you for taking the time to write me to confirm what I said during the gun debate.  The quote that is being circulated is absolutely inaccurate. The quote was from Robert F. Kennedy in a speech that he made the day after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated.  It says, “Violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.”  This quote was used in reference to the violence of our current society.  I have attached the link to the actual speech with the transcript below.  You will see that I never reference gun owners. In fact, I am a gun owner myself and deeply believe in protecting this right.  Again, thank you for your time and concern.

I criticized radio hosts John Caldara and Peter Boyles for spreading the misinformation that Morse said gun owners have a sickness in their souls, when in fact, Morse was referring to violence as a sickness in society.

As Armstrong points out, I did not quote Morse’s entire speech. I should have done this, so I’ve provided the entire text of Morse’s speech below.

Armstrong claims that Morse is insinuating that gun owners have a sickness in their souls, even though Morse is a gun owner.

Even if Morse didn’t own a gun, it would be senseless for him to make such a ridiculous accusation, given how many people in America own guns. The accusation against Morse defies both common sense and the words he used in his speech, such as: “This debate on reducing gun violence in this country needed to happen, and it finally is happening.”

Anyway, I think any fair-minded person would read the following text and conclude that Morse was not accusing gun owners of having a sickness in their souls. I’m sure Armstrong and I agree on this: You decide.

Text from President Morse’s speech on Friday, March 8.

Under current law in the United States, gun dealers and manufacturers are immune from liability even when they are negligent.  No other industry enjoys in the country this protection.  This immunity is the direct result of a powerful lobby, that ironically is subsidized by our own government and taxpayers through the military and police.  We have experienced the power of this lobby over the last three months.

In the wake of 6-year-old children being shot in the face, the gun lobby has actually argued we need more guns and managed to convince Coloradans that they will lose their guns if we impose even reasonable restrictions on firearms.  They have argued that the mental health system is broken and needs to be fixed, but have not introduced a single piece of legislation to address mental health either in Colorado or nationally.

Robert F. Kennedy, after MLK’s assassination, said:

“Violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.”

Cleansing a sickness from our souls does not come easily.  It is gruesome.  During the last three months we have experienced hatred and vitriol that I haven’t seen since I was on the street as a police officer.  This has included wishing rape, torture and death on legislators and their families.  It’s reached its heights just this week as we’ve been considering these bills in committee and we’ve been preparing to consider them today on the floor. Sickness.

Change has not ever come quickly in the United States and our system is designed to make sure it doesn’t.

We have made strides today, strides that will save lives.

Strides that stop bullets piercing more children’s bodies, strides that stop criminals from getting guns, strides that stop domestic abusers from killing their partners with a gun and strides that will stop massacres of 85 people including our children with a 100 round magazine.

This debate on reducing gun violence in this country needed to happen, and it finally is happening.

I am proud to be a Coloradan and proud to represent these Colorado values.  We proudly stand here today as Coloradoans who want the killing to stop and the cleansing to start.

Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my motion and move that SB 196 be laid over until May 10th.


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