Colorado Senate Approves 5 of 7 Gun Control Bills; Including Magazine Ban

On Monday, the Colorado senate approved five of seven gun control proposals, perhaps marking the end of a bitter battle over gun rights in the Centennial State.

The approval of these new gun laws comes in the wake of the mass shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, which together reignited the national debate over gun control.

With the help of local Colorado news affiliate KUSA-TV, here is an updated list of the seven proposals:

– UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS: House Bill 1229 would add a background-check requirement for many guns sold in private transactions.  Passed by the Senate today.  The Democratic-sponsored bill has already cleared the House but is headed back for a hearing on an amendment that would allow guns to be repaired without the repair shop owner needing a check.

– MAGAZINE LIMITS: House Bill 1224 limits gun ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. The Democratic-sponsored bill has cleared the House, and passed through the Senate today.  It will head back to the House for a hearing on an amendment that limits shotguns to no more than 28 inches worth of shells.

– FIREARM BAN FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OFFENDERS: Senate Bill 197 would expand a ban on gun ownership for people convicted of certain domestic-violence offenses. The bill passed the Senate today.

GUN LIABILITY: Senate Bill 196 adds legal liability for gun sellers and owners. The bill faced its first test Monday.  Dropped from Senate consideration.  

GUNS ON CAMPUS: House Bill 1226 would end Colorado’s unusual law barring public college campuses from banning concealed weapons. The Democratic-sponsored bill has already cleared the House.  Dropped from Senate consideration. 

– ONLINE GUN TRAINING: Senate Bill 195 would require people seeking concealed carry permits to take gun training courses in person.  Passed by Senate today.   

– BACKGROUND CHECK FEES: House Bill 1228 would revive fees for gun purchasers who need background checks. The Democratic-sponsored bill has already cleared the House and passed the Senate today.

With the full backing of the Senate, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlopper is expected to sign all five bills into law in the coming weeks.  In short, it’s a major victory for gun-control supporters.

Arguably, the most controversial of the measures being voted on was the ban on magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammo because of the impact it would have on the Colorado-based magazine manufacturer Magpul, which has vowed to leave if HB 1224 becomes law.

State Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) spoke about the impetus behind this legislation on the Senate floor last Friday.

“This bill is mirroring an attempt to reduce the slaughter,” she said. “I’m trying to keep constituents safer.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Scott Renfroe (R-Weld County) opted to sum up the impact the bill would have in a different way, alluding to the Magpul situation, “Jobs, jobs, jobs — all leaving Colorado.”

With a history of embracing gun culture and its politically moderate state legislature, many consider Colorado to be a bellwether of sorts in the national debate over gun control.  It seems what’s politically feasible there is also politically feasible at the federal level.

Consequently, if one is to accept that premise that what happens in Colorado is a prelude to federal gun control reform, gun owners should be more than slightly unnerved by the direction the country is headed.

As Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) lamented during a hearing last Friday, “This arc is headed toward tyranny, and it is clear.”

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