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Colorado Not Hopeful About Gun Control Movement

MEGAN VERLEE, BYLINE: And I'm Megan Verlee of Colorado Public Radio. Here's the reaction from Fort Morgan.

CANDY LOOMIS: Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. So who has guns? The criminals. That's what happens.

VERLEE: That's Candy Loomis. I met her at the cafe she runs just off Main Street in Fort Morgan. She's been watching the gun control debate going on in recent weeks and thinks Democratic protests are nothing more than theater.

LOOMIS: Democrats wanted to pass legislation. They had the first two years that Obama was president to do that. They had the House and the Senate. And they didn't do it. So they saved it for political reasons.

VERLEE: Fort Morgan sits way out on the Eastern Plains, far from the Colorado with ski resorts and marijuana shops. This part of the state looks and votes more like Kansas and Nebraska. When state lawmakers passed tougher gun laws three years ago, people around here threatened to secede. Sitting at the coffee shop's counter, Becky Oldemeyer wasn't impressed with the lengths Democrats are going to to force a debate over guns.

BECKY OLDEMEYER: Why don't they do their job? Sit around, play - twiddle their thumbs. I don't know. I guess they were bored.

VERLEE: Oldemeyer's a lot happier with eastern Colorado's Congressman, Ken Buck, a Republican who, this week, called the Democratic sit-in nonsense.

OLDEMEYER: He's just conservative and he's rated, what, A-plus, Candy? He's A-plus. He's just - does everything we like him to. So he's really good.

VERLEE: When Oldemeyer says A-plus, she's referring to Buck's A grade from the NRA. Guns are popular out here. And few people seem to have any patience with the idea that more restrictive gun laws would reduce gun violence. One exception, though, is Bob Everett. The retired teacher was reading in the shade of his front porch. He's frustrated that Congress hasn't done anything to tighten gun laws after years of mass shootings, including the one at a movie theater in Aurora.

BOB EVERETT: It's hard to believe. It's just hard for me to believe. And it's sad. It makes our country look really callous in the eyes of the world.

VERLEE: Everett is a big fan of gun control. He'd like to see a new assault weapons ban. But he doesn't think congressional Democrats accomplished much with their sit-in and earlier hold up of Senate business.

EVERETT: You've got a right to show your feelings and so on. But to disrupt the Senate and so on, I don't care for that type of demonstration at all.

VERLEE: The Orlando nightclub attack may have briefly reignited the debate over gun policy on Capitol Hill. But in rural Colorado, it seems to have done little to change the conversation. For NPR News, I'm Megan Verlee. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.