9:42am

Tue January 8, 2013
Politics

Colorado Lawmakers and the Gun Debate

Colorado lawmakers will be on the front lines of the national gun debate both nationally and locally.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D) and Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D) both have close connections to the Aurora community and to the 1999 Columbine High School shootings.

KUNC's Brian Larson speaks with Colorado Statesman Publisher Jody Hope Strogoff about the role Colorado lawmakers will play in the gun debate.

Perlmutter was appointed as a Vice-Chair of the 12 member House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force last week and is expected to renew his call for a ban on assault weapons that expired in 2004.

“Perlmutter was actually, one of the first, in fact maybe the first person to call for a ban on assault weapons right after the shootings in Aurora,” says Colorado Statesman Publisher Jody Hope Strogoff.

7th District Congressman Ed Perlmutter.

“He also brings the ability to work well with others and I think that’s important on such an emotional issue and I think he’ll probably try use that kind of common sense approach when he talks with the other representatives on the committee.”

Diana DeGette jumped into the gun debate during the first day of the new Congress last week proposing legislation that would ban high-capacity magazines. Strogoff says it’s not the first time that she’s proposed such legislation.

“There are still a lot of people in Congress who have been supported by the National Rifle Association who believe in the 2nd Amendment above anything and I think you are talking about something too that’s an emotionally laden issue that – it’s going to get be hard to get legislation through but I think her bills have a better chance now than in the past.”

Several gun related bills are also expected on the state level when the annual legislative session convenes on Wednesday. Among them is a measure from Aurora representative Rhonda Fields (D) that would require background checks for gun purchases made through private transactions.