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Colorado Democrats Unveil 3 New Gun Bills In Response To Boulder Shooting

Sen. Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, talks Thursday about the bills lawmakers plan to pursue in response to the Boulder shooting.
Scott Franz
Capitol Coverage
Sen. Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, talks Thursday about the bills lawmakers plan to pursue in response to the Boulder shooting.

Saying they are turning their outrage into action, Colorado lawmakers on Thursday revealed the three bills they want to pass this session in the wake of a mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers that killed 10 people.

Together, the measures would temporarily prevent people convicted of some violent misdemeanors from purchasing guns, create a new state office focused on preventing gun violence and allow cities to adopt stricter gun laws than the state.

“What works for Boulder might not work for Alamosa,” State Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, said. “What works for Sterling might not work for Denver. Our state includes a diverse set of communities, and we should allow each of these communities to look out for the safety of their own.”

A ban on assault weapons is not among the policies lawmakers say they will pursue this session. Asked why it wasn’t on the list, Fenberg said lawmakers are focusing on the three bills they think will save the most lives.

At a town hall last week, the Boulder lawmakers talked more about the challenges such a ban would face.

They said time was running out in this year’s lawmaking session, and fellow Democrats had warned an assault weapons ban could hurt the chances for other reforms.

The background check expansion lawmakers are working on would prevent people who commit violent misdemeanors, including forms of assault and child abuse, from purchasing a gun within five years of their convictions.

Lawmakers have not publicly disclosed yet which specific crimes will be covered, but they said the bill will be "laser focused" and "nuanced."

They also did not have data available about how often people convicted of these crimes are purchasing guns within that timeframe in Colorado.

State Rep. Judy Amabile said expanding background checks could have prevented the suspect in the Boulder shooting from purchasing his weapon.

The background check bill will also aim to end the so-called Charleston loophole, which allows people to buy guns regardless of the results of a background check if it is not completed within three days.

Scott Franz is an Investigative Reporter with KUNC.