Will of the people. During elections yesterday, Colorado voters recalled two state lawmakers who championed the state’s new gun control laws. Gun rights advocates are touting the victories, which replaced the two Democratic state senators with Republicans, as a victory with a message: Even in left-leaning districts, gun control is unpopular. John Morse was state Senate president, and Angela Giron served a heavily Democratic district in southern Colorado. The National Rifle Association poured money into the races, as did New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a staunch advocate for stricter gun-control measures across the country. Colorado’s new laws require background checks for private gun sales and limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. Despite the symbolic impact of the recall effort, analysts say the election won’t have much effect on the state’s politics. Democrats will retain control of the statehouse.
Lesser sentence? Lawyers for the man who pleaded guilty to plotting a mass shooting at the Washington headquarters of the Family Research Council (FRC) now say their client should serve no more than 11½ years for his crime. Floyd Corkins II’s attorneys say he was mentally ill when he entered the FRC building’s lobby and shot a security guard who disarmed and restrained him. Prosecutors asked for a 45-year sentence, saying if not for the guard, Corkins certainly would have succeeded in killing dozens of people. Six months before the shooting, Corkins voluntarily committed himself to a mental hospital after ‘‘experiencing auditory hallucinations, and having thoughts of killing his parents and conservative right-wing Christians.’’ In court documents filed yesterday, his lawyers say the day before the shooting, he missed an appointment to get the monthly dose of medication helping to keep him stable. Sentencing is scheduled for next week.
Controversial appointment. The University of North Carolina’s public television network is facing a backlash after it appointed “controversial” author Orson Scott Card to its board of trustees. In a statement issued yesterday, UNC-TV’s board defended Card’s appointment, saying the organization strove to have a variety of viewpoints represented among its leaders. Card, a Mormon and outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, has faced criticism in the last year for his political views: An artist hired to work with him on a new Superman comic quit and a gay-rights group plans to boycott the upcoming release of the movie version of his popular book, Ender’s Game. His recent commentary in a North Carolina newspaper, criticizing the president and liberals in the media and higher education, also caused a stir.
Shock or over sharing? The American Association of University Professors is protesting Michigan State University’s decision to remove a creative writing teacher from the classroom after his anti-Republican rant. After investigating the incident, recorded by a student in the class, school officials decided to cancel William Penn’s teaching schedule for the semester. Penn, a well-known author, remains on the school’s payroll. In a statement released yesterday, the association claims the 10-minute video is not enough to determine whether Penn was using a teaching method designed to shock his students into a response or actually engaging in inappropriate behavior. School officials determined Penn did not act in a manner designed to promote mutual respect of different viewpoints.