House Democrats kill effort to repeal Colorado gun magazine restrictions

Measure postponed indefinitely by 7 to 4 vote

DENVER - Efforts to repeal Colorado's restrictions on the purchase of gun magazines larger than 15 rounds came to an abrupt halt Monday night.

By a 7 to 4 vote, members of the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, which is controlled by Democrats, postponed HB 14-1151 indefinitely.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Douglas County, says the 15 round limit approved by the legislature last year is arbitrary.

"That’s the one bill the Governor should have vetoed last year," Holbert told 7NEWS. "I believe it's what led to two recall elections."

Pueblo Democrat Angela Giron and Senate President John Morse were recalled by voters because of their stance on gun control.

In trying to undo the restrictions on ammo magazines, Holbert asked Democrats if they "are willing to spend political capital for something that doesn't have a lot of support."

But several lawmakers on the committee said their town hall meetings showed a lot of support for the limits.

Lawmakers heard from many people on both sides of the issue.

"There's no reason that anybody who is a civilian needs a high capacity magazine," said Theresa Hoover, whose son, A.J. Boik, was killed in the Aurora theater shooting.

But Weld County Sheriff John Cooke countered, "Who is the government to say how many rounds a person needs to protect themselves?"

Doug Hamilton, CEO of Hamilton Family Enterprises, told lawmakers that the laws they enacted last year "will not do what it was hoped they would do," keep people safe.

But Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed at Columbine, said the laws passed last year are a start.

"Unfortunately and sadly, there are going to be more mass shootings in America," Mauser said. "The question is will people have to wait for a 30 round or a 50 round or a 100 round magazine to be unloaded before they have a chance to escape?  Or will it be 15?"

Before casting his vote in favor of the repeal, Rep. Steven Humphrey, R-Severance, said, "It's a liberty issue. It's the Second Amendment."

Humphrey said he understands the other side, "but the right to protect oneself is guaranteed by the constitution."

Before casting her vote, Democratic Rep. Su Ryden, the committee chair, read a letter from Arapahoe County Coroner Michael Doberson.

In that letter, Doberson wrote about the devastating impact of high velocity rounds.

He wrote, "These rounds have a devastating effect when only one strikes a human body. Can you imagine the impact of multiple shots? Unfortunately, I can."

Doberson wrote that lawmakers have to start somewhere.  He closed his letter by stating, "I'm tired of taking bullets out of kids."

Republicans knew there was little chance that a repeal of the magazine restrictions would make it to a floor vote.  They hope to use this issue to regain control of both the House and Senate during the next election.

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