Eight months after the Aurora, Co., theater killings, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is poised to sign tomorrow some of the toughest new gun control laws in the U.S., which the New York Times say will cap a journey that has transformed a popular, data-driven Western Democrat who takes his son shooting into an unlikely frontman for bringing new gun laws into the nation’s center. “It absolutely lays a path for the rest of the country,” said Jill Hanauer, a Democratic strategist in Denver. “If you can do it here, you can do it anyplace.” Democrats hope the expanded background checks and new limits on ammunition clips are signs of a durable shift in a Western swing state. On guns, Hickenlooper, 61, a onetime oil geologist and brewpub owner, said he simply wanted solutions. “We were just pulling our hair out, saying, What can you do?” he said. “Rather than feeling good, something that can make a difference. What are best practices? Where can we improve?” Colorado had not passed new gun laws since just after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School.