Colorado Democratic lawmakers announce new gun control measures

Move comes after Aurora theater shooting

DENVER - Colorado Democrats have proposed a slate of gun control measures -- but they won't be suggesting a full ban on assault weapons.

The package outlined Tuesday at the State Capitol calls for universal background checks for gun purchases, plus a new ban on high-capacity magazines.

"High capacity magazines were designed for one thing --  to kill large numbers of people as quickly as possible," said state representative Rhonda Fields. "They have no place in our community and they have no place in our streets."

Fields, whose son and his fiance were shot and killed in 2005, admits the legislation will be tough to pass.

"This legislation will be a fight, it will be an uphill challenge," said Fields. "But I believe in my heart that this is  a fight that we can and will win."

Democrats stopped short of suggesting a statewide ban on assault weapons. Instead they suggest new liability standards for the users and sellers of such guns.

"The bill will hold gun manufacturers, sellers, owners and possessors strictly liable for 100 percent of the damage done by these military style assault weapons," said Senate President John Morse.

"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.

A second bill sponsored by Fields will require background checks on all guns purchased in the state of Colorado.

"It's time for us to update our laws here in Colorado so that no one can buy a gun without a background check," said Fields.

The Democrats also want to see new requirements for mental health professionals telling authorities about patients who shouldn't have access to guns.

Republicans are expected to oppose the ideas. The Democratic Legislature has already rejected several GOP ideas to reduce gun violence, including a bill to allow school employees to carry concealed weapons.

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