Colorado lawmaker proposes liability law for assault weapons owners, sellers

Senate President John Morse proposed bill

DENVER - Sellers and owners of assault weapons could be liable for damages caused by shootings under a bill proposed by Colorado's Democratic Senate president.

The bill is being introduced in the state Senate on Wednesday. Colorado Springs Sen. John Morse says his goal is to make assault weapon owners and sellers responsible for what he calls dangerous weapons.

"The bill I envision... it will deem these guns as unreasonably dangerous," said Morse. "It will not ban them, it will just hold people strictly liable, strictly responsible for what occurs. The effect is that everyone in the chain will be responsible for the actions of that gun."

"It will only apply to military-style assault weapons, firearms that are not handguns, bolt action rifles or shotguns," said Morse.

Critics of Morse's bill say it's a backdoor way to ban assault weapons. Republicans have also said Morse's idea may conflict with a 2005 federal law that protects gun makers and sellers from liability for crimes committed with their products.

Morse says jurors would decide whether sellers or owners should be held liable in individual cases.

The bill is part of a package of Democratic proposals in response to recent mass shootings. Other bills call for universal background checks for gun purchases and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

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