Colorado House gives preliminary approval to four gun control bills

DENVER -  

Colorado Democrats advanced ammunition limits, expanded background checks, and other gun measures during a debate that drew the attention of Vice President Joe Biden, who called four lawmakers.
 
The Democratic-controlled House gave the initial OK to the bills Friday night after a daylong debate. The preliminary votes set up final actions on the measures Monday.
 
The Democratic gun-control package that advanced also includes banning concealed weapons on public college campuses, and requiring that gun buyers pay for their background checks.

The bills face one more vote in the House  before moving to the Senate for consideration.

Biden called three freshman lawmakers in moderate districts to talk about the debate, as well as Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino

One measure, sponsored by Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, would  prohibit large capacity ammunition magazines.

Fields, whose son, Javad, and his fiancé, Vivian Wolfe, were murdered by gun wielding assailants in 2005, said limiting the size of magazines will save lives.

“High capacity magazines were designed to have one purpose,” she said, “and that is to kill large numbers of people, quickly.”

Fields told fellow House members that the gunman who walked into a theater in Aurora, “killed 12 people and injured 58 in ninety seconds.”

But Republicans, including Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Logan County, said, “Banning high capacity magazine will not keep evil people from doing evil things.”

“This piece of legislation is not going to prevent tragedy from happening in the future,” said House Minority Leader, Rep. Mark Waller.

Waller said that what the bill will do is drive good jobs out of state.

He cited a pronouncement by the Chief Operating Officer of Magpul, an Erie based firearms accessories manufacturer, that it will leave the state if HB 13-1224 becomes law.

Rep. Jared Wright, R-Mesa County, echoed Waller’s concerns while reading a letter from Greg Alfred, the owner of Alfred Manufacturing, which supplies parts to Magpul.

“If HB 1224 passes,” Alfred’s letter stated, “We will relocate part or all of our operations out of state.”

One after another, Democratic lawmakers spoke in favor of the bill.

“The horror of (the theater shooting in) Aurora is a wake-up call members,” said Rep. Sue Schafer, D-Jefferson County. “Let’s wake-up.”

And one after another, Republicans spoke out against it.

“Many lawmakers don’t have experience with guns,” said Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Adams County. “But that doesn’t give you the right to take away a Second Amendment right from other Coloradans.”

But, Democrats point out that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that, like most rights, the Second Amendment is not without limits.  

House members also approved a measure requiring a background check for all gun sales in Colorado.

Democrats said that was important because such a check could flag whether a potential gun buyer had a restraining order issued against them.

Republicans said the bill will be difficult, if not impossible to enforce.

Lawmakers also passed a measure to allow the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to charge gun buyers a fee for their background check.  And lawmakers passed a bill banning concealed weapons in buildings on college campuses.

The bills will be forwarded to the Democratic-controlled Senate for consideration.

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