House Approves Sweeping Gun Restrictions

February 19, 2013

In addition to the measures they passed Monday, House Democrats have proposed another four gun control bills

DENVER–House Democrats approved all four gun-control bills Monday, insisting that they would protect public safety over the objections of Republicans who said the measures would do nothing except cost the state jobs.

None of the four bills received any Republican votes, although a few Democrats did vote against the measures. The most dramatic moment of the four-hour session came when state Rep. Ed Vigil (D-San Luis) told the chamber he would oppose all four bills as Republicans stood in support.

“How I got to these votes: First of all, I vote my conscience,” said Vigil. “My conscience is clear that I am doing the right thing for Colorado and for the people of Colorado.”

Despite Vigil’s decision to side with Republicans, the outcome of the session was never in doubt. With a 37-28 majority, Democrats could afford to lose a few votes from lawmakers in swing districts and still pass each of the bills.

The package now moves to the Senate, but that doesn’t mean the House is finished with gun control. House Democrats have proposed another four bills, while the Senate is also expected to introduce firearms restrictions of its own.

The results of Monday’s House votes on firearms legislation, in the order they were approved:

HB 1224: Limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds, but exempts manufacturers from the limit. Passed 34-31;

HB 1229: Mandates background checks for all sales and transfers of firearms, including transfers between family members and friends. Passed 36-29;

HB 1228: Requires gun buyers to pay for their own state-mandated background checks. Passed 33-32;

HB 1226: Bars concealed-carry permit holders from bringing firearms into campus buildings at colleges and universities. Passed 34-31.

House Speaker Mark Ferrandino limited testimony to 10 minutes per legislator per bill, resulting in a much quicker debate than Monday’s marathon session. He said he believed the four bills would pass constitutional muster.

“A bill like this will save lives, and while we have to make sure we are careful in protecting the Second Amendment, we also have to make sure that we protect life,” said Ferrandino.

Republicans predicted the measures would result in the loss of jobs as manufacturers leave the state. Two Colorado companies, Magpul Industries and Alfred Manufacturing, have already indicated they will relocate if the magazine-limit bill passes, taking hundreds of jobs with them.

Several Republicans described the bill to require gun purchasers to pay for their own background check as a “poll tax,” saying that it compels citizens to pay for a constitutional right, much as poll taxes charged voters a fee in order to exercise their right to vote.

“A fee that is rendered on a right such as this can’t be anything other than a poll tax,” said state Rep. Lori Saine (R-Dacono). “This will suppress gun ownership. It will discourage people from owning weapons.”

State Rep. Jovan Melton (D-Aurora) disagreed, noting that the poll tax was used in the South in order to discourage African Americans from voting.

“I can’t choose to be black, but people can choose whether or not to buy a gun,” said Melton.

Republicans also predicted that the bill requiring universal background checks would inevitably lead to gun registration. Officials from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation said they delete all information on gun buyers within 24 hours of performing the check, but lawmakers pointed out that without registration, there would be no way to prove whether a gun owner had been approved.

“If you’re driving down the street with a firearm in your car, which by the way in Colorado is legal, now it may not be, unless you can prove how you came into possession of that firearm,” said state Rep. Chris Holbert (R-Parker). “And you can’t, without registration.”

Colorado’s gun-control package drew national attention after Vice President Joe Biden called a handful of Democratic legislators Friday from Aspen, where he was on a ski vacation. Biden, who is pushing gun-control measures on behalf of the Obama administration, urged the lawmakers to approve the bills.

State Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora) said that her decision to introduce gun-control legislation came long before any lobbying by the White House.

“After the horrible events that happened Aurora, I was compelled to do something,” said Fields. “It was way before the White House initiative to address gun violence. So this is not something that was based on some White House Washington influence.”

Fields also said the four bills approved Monday were just the beginning of the effort to curb gun violence, predicting that “you’ll see more.”

“Will this bill stop all crime in our state? No. That’s why you’re going to see a series of several bills, because we see this as an incremental approach to address gun violence,” said Fields.

Her assurances didn’t do anything to relieve the anxieties of Republicans.

“I take to heart Rep. Fields’ comment that this is just the first of many bills, and it saddens my heart, because what we’re seeing here is the beginning of the end of some of the freedoms we’ve always enjoyed here in the West,” said state Rep. Carole Murray (R-Castle Rock).

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

15 Responses to House Approves Sweeping Gun Restrictions

  1. jeff
    February 19, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    How does this have anything to do with criminals.limiting mag capacity because criminals will not have the mags with the more your own backgroind checks because criminals buy legal guns.can’t carry on campus even if they have a permit because gun free zones work so good and transferring guns in family you got to be kidding.i am glad i don’t live in that state because not a single one of these or any new laws will stop criminals.

  2. Thomas Lowe
    February 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm

    You know the sad thing is, colorado can pass all the laws they want to, and some of the laws proposed here are very good, and some aren’t, but when they make these laws do they honestly think that criminals who seek to do mass shooting’s or seek to do harm to people who have a firearm handy give a crap about any of these laws to begin with? start cracking down on illegal firearms start punishing and targeting people who claim Gang membership, they want to act the part fine treat them accordingly.

  3. Richard Maloney
    February 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Question? Now that Colorado is changing gun laws…what is it going to do with all the mentally ill folks that live there?

  4. True Patriot
    February 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    All I can say to these quislings…Tiocfaidh Ar la

  5. Dave
    February 19, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    I still can’t see how it is legal to charge me to be able to use the 2nd amendment !!!!!! And I don’t understand why they are taking the cowards way out on gun crimes!!!!’ Instead of enforcing the present laws on criminals not being allowed to have guns, they wanna take them from those with no criminal or mental health background issues!!!!! It’s pretty bad that everywhere that these shootings happen is within gun free zones. Enforce those zones !!!! Do not take the cowards way out and ignore the facts and take guns from law abiding citizens!!!! Why are they afraid to follow through with existing gun laws???? The shooters did not legally obtain the guns to start with !!!!
    “I will give up my guns when they pry my cold dead fingers from around them !!!!!! Also, magazine limit of 15, tape 2 together and have 30 rounds + 2 seconds to flip it over! Stupid !!!!!!!

  6. Mr Noneofyourbiz
    February 19, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Now is the time for all good patriots to rise up and protect their freedoms from they tyrants that are supposed to represent them and have taken an oath to uphold our constitution.

    Try all peaceful means of stopping them but if all else fails it’s your duty and responsibility to fight!

    Long Live Our Republic!

  7. Matt
    February 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    Not one thing in this or any of these bills around the country addresses reporting people with sever psychological problems being reported to authority’s who already do background checks so that a red flag could be put up to stop people who shouldn’t own guns from getting them. I would love to see a study on the amount of gun violence or for that matter all violence that has increased since the mass availability of drugs like Zoloft and Prozak came on to the scene. My opinion is any politician that votes to remove any form of our constitutional rights should be hung for treason.

  8. Bob
    February 19, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    I wonder when the people will stand up and demand the government stays out of our lives? I do not believe this is what the people want and our government doesn’t care, they have their own agenda and its no where close to what I want.

  9. LeRoy
    February 20, 2013 at 4:23 am

    And just how are these laws going to keep wack job criminals from coming on campus and shooting?
    I don’t see where these will curb gun violence? Where is the science, where is the logic?

  10. Linda Hoover
    February 20, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Excellent article. I WISH this was only the beginning of the end of so may of our freedoms. But it is just another in a long line that is clearly gaining speed and momentum. Once the people wake up and realize what is really happening, they will rue this day, as many, many others in recent times. Sobering as it is, I suggest we all take a deeper look now, as so very much is at stake.

  11. Kelly
    February 20, 2013 at 6:47 am

    What’s wrong with you Colorado? It’s ok to smoke pot, but not ok to own a gun!

  12. Ed
    February 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    Come 2014 remember all those that voted or this and replace them on election day. We The People need to take this country back and those that like to make stupid laws like this an continue to spend our country into banruptcy need to be replaced. Do away with the gun free zones and those thinking of doing something crazy will wonder if they will get through the door to act upon.

  13. Bruce Richardson
    February 25, 2013 at 10:27 am

    Representative Fields felt “compelled to do something.” This legislation is aimed squarely at people who are willing to obey laws. How would it in any way restrict people who don’t?

    Let me be the first Texan to welcome Magpul Industries and and Alfred Manufacturing to Texas. The “Peoples Republic” of Colorado obviously doesn’t want you and doesn’t respect individual liberty or the 2nd Amendment. In Texas, we do.


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