Gun background checks expansion sent to Governor Hickenlooper's desk

Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill

DENVER - Colorado lawmakers have passed expanded background checks for private and online firearm purchases and sent the bill to the governor's desk for his expected approval.

The bill was passed Friday in the Democratic-controlled House by a 36-27 vote on Friday, with only one Democrat opposing.

House Bill 1229 had previously been passed by both the state House and the state Senate. However, because members of the state Senate made amendments to the bill, was sent to a committee for reconciliation.

The bill came in response to the mass shootings last year at a suburban Denver movie theater and Connecticut elementary school.

Democrats in the Senate approved the bill earlier.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper called for the checks al during this State of the State address in January. He's expected to sign the bill within two weeks.

Republicans say the background-check requirement can't be enforced without universal gun registration, which they oppose.

Democrats insist that growing online gun sales and sales outside stores and gun shows have created a big loophole in gun transfers without background checks.

Here is a rundown on the other gun control bills in Colorado:

- House Bill 1224 would make it a crime to have a magazine that holds more than 15 rounds. Because of changes in the state Senate, that bill went back to the House for reconciliation. The changes passed Wednesday and the bill went to Governor John Hickenlooper's desk.

Hickenlooper has said he will sign both HB 1224 and HB 1229 into law.

- House Bill 1228 would revive fee payments, likely $10, for gun purchasers who need background checks. Having been previously approved by the House, it went to Hickenlooper's desk for a signature. Currently the Colorado Bureau of Investigation does those checks for free. The governor has two business weeks to sign the fee bill, or it becomes law without his signature.

- Senate Bill 195 would require people seeking concealed carry permits to take gun training courses in person. People can currently take online courses. The Senate initiated bill has gone to the House for a series of votes.

- Senate Bill 197 would require courts to order anyone subject to a domestic violence protection order or convicted of domestic violence to relinquish their guns within 24 hours. A judge could extend that to 72 hours. That bill also was initiated in the state Senate and has gone to the state House for a series of votes.

Two parts of the gun package were pulled last Friday because of lack of support. House Bill 1226, which would end Colorado's unusual law barring public college campuses from banning concealed weapons, and Senate Bill 196, which would add legal liability for sellers and owners of assault weapons, were laid over until after the session ends. Therefore, the proposals were effectively defeated.

So far, only New York has approved statewide gun controls in the wake of the mass shootings. Federal gun restrictions are pending in Congress.

The GOP has decried the entire gun package as a bad reaction to last year's horrific mass shootings in Newtown, Conn., and at the Aurora movie theater.

"It's about passing something and solving nothing," Senate Republican Leader Bill Cadman complained Monday.

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