A newly Republican-controlled Colorado state Senate moved forward a pair of pro-gun bills Monday while a Democrat-lead House “kill committee” torpedoed efforts to repeal draconian gun laws.
The root issue is a very narrowly divided legislature along partisan lines with Dems in the driver’s seat of a 34-31 House and the GOP in charge of an 18-17 majority in the state Senate. Partisan politics on gun control issues saw a host of Republican bills with an aim to overturn the state’s harsh 2013 gun laws quickly defeated in the House while two to expand gun rights in the Senate advanced out of committee.
However, with the split between the two chambers, it is likely that those survivors will ultimately fail.
“Just like Bill Murray on ‘Groundhog Day’ we woke up and it’s the same thing all over again,” Jennifer Hope with Moms Demand Action told lawmakers. “We can handle six more weeks of winter, but what we can’t handle is six more weeks of senseless repeal efforts.”
The State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee heard the five House bills. In a 6-5 party line vote, the Democrat majority on the committee rejected them each in turn after extensive public testimony for and against. This legislation included:
- House Bill 15-1009, to repeal the state’s 2013 ban on magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition. That prohibition was instrumental in Colorad0-based Magpul making a decision to exit the state, bringing its $80 million worth of manufacturing and headquarters facilities to more gun-friendly regions.
- House Bill 15-1049, the so-called, “Make My Day Better” bill that would reform laws on justifiable homicide against a person found illegally in a place of business.
- House Bill 15-1050, to repeal Colorado’s controversial 2013 expanded background check law.
- House Bill 15-1086, that would have required law enforcement to process background checks for within five days of request, returning either an approval or denial. Not only would this apply to Colorado Bureau of Investigation checks but also checks for National Firearms Act items such as suppressors and machine guns. This sort of “shall sign/shall certify” legislation has proven very popular gun reform with six states last year instituting it. Colorado likely won’t be the seventh.
- House Bill 15-1127 is meant to reduce civil liability on private businesses who allow concealed carry permit holders on their property.
In the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, the Republican-controlled majority referred two very expansive pro-gun bills by a vote of 3-2 to the Committee on Appropriations. However, it is expected that, should the legislation win the overall Senate vote, concurrence by the House is unlikely. Even if they did, it is likely they would incur the veto pen of Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has been outspoken in his support of anti-gun legislation. The bills included:
- Senate Bill 15-032, to allow for carrying of a concealed handgun by any adult not prohibited from possessing a firearm. This concept, so-called “constitutional carry” is law in six states.
- Senate Bill 15-086, a companion measure to HB15-1050, to repeal expanded background checks.
“The legislation passed by Democrats in 2013 criminalizes law abiding citizens for taking prudent steps to protect their firearms and families,” said Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, SB15-086 sponsor.