DENVER– Democrat Senate leadership called the five gun-control bills approved on Monday “solutions” to gun violence. Republicans argued that the bills erode 2nd Amendment rights and make law-abiding Coloradans less safe.
The measures were debated about six hours before passage, and previously more than 12 hours last Friday.
House Bill 1224, which would limit gun magazine capacity, drew the most criticism because Republicans argued it would render weapons useless.
“I’m telling you right now, I will not obey this law,” declared state Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray). “I will willfully and purposefully and civilly disobey this law.”
The measure drew the ire of state Sen. Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins), who said it “is an abomination to our freedoms… If passed, I will not abide by this law.”
House Bill 1228 will be sent today to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who said he will sign it into law. The bill, which forces gun buyers to pay fees for background checks to dealers and Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI), passed the Senate, 19 – 16. State Sen. Andy Kerr (D-Lakewood) voted no with Republicans.
House Bill 1229, which requires universal background checks, passed 19 – 16 with state Sen. Lois Tochtrop (D-Thornton) voting against it. Because the bill was amended it will return to the House for approval. Hickenlooper supports the measure.
House Bill 1224, which limits gun ammunition magazines to 15 rounds, narrowly passed the Senate on a 18 – 17 vote. Democrat Sens. Tochtrop and Cheri Jahn of Wheat Ridge voted with Republicans against the bill. The bill was amended in the Senate and will return to the House for approval. Hickenlooper supports the bill.
Senate Bill 195, which requires certified hands-on training for concealed carry permits, easily passed the Senate on a 22 – 13 vote, and now will be considered in the House.
Senate Bill 197 would require courts to remove guns from a person convicted of domestic violence or subject to a protection order. The bill passed 20 – 15, and goes to the House.
“Within the Capitol, it was a tough fight,” declared Senate President John Morse (D-Colorado Springs). “Outside of the Capitol, we had the majority of Coloradans on our side.”
Republican senators blamed the Majority Party leadership for ignoring thousands of Coloradans who communicated their opposition to the bills, and hundreds who were not allowed to testify at Senate committee hearings last week.
Hickenlooper said the crowd of gun-control opponents appeared to be extremists – not typical Republicans.
“These are mainstream people,” declared state Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango). “At least 92 percent of my district oppose these bills and personally contacted me.
Roberts said constituents from her district in the southwest corner of the state drove seven hours one way to testify at the Capitol. But the Democrat leadership scheduled two committee hearings on the gun-control bills on the same day and time.
“These bills do not take firearms away from anyone who can legally have one,” asserted Morse. “The political scare tactics have zero truth behind them.”
Republican senators said the gun-control bills are part of an agenda pushed by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Vice President Joe Biden, who lobbied Democrat legislators.
About 30 Colorado county sheriffs opposed HB 1229 which demands background checks for all gun transfers because it is not enforceable. Republican senators asserted it will lead to a registry of all gun owners in the state – and eventually a national registry.