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NRA's Keene And Colorado Lawmakers Looking For ‘Common Ground’

Gage Skidmore
Flickr - Creative Commons

Paying a visit to Colorado Thursday, the head of the National Rifle Association met with state leaders in Colorado.

“We’re willing to talk and willing to be a constructive part of any conversation that’s designed to protect our children,” said NRA President David Keene.   

Keene met separately with Democratic statehouse leaders and Governor John Hickenlooper. He says the discussions went well and that there’s a lot of common ground. Keene supports tightening, but not expanding, the current background check system to make sure mentally ill people can’t get guns.

“We’re not interested in stigmatizing people who’ve had a bad day or went to a doctor because of mild depression but there are people that are not in the gray area.”

There is a wide divide on other issues though.

Democrats unveiled a package of proposed gun control legislation earlier this week, pushing for universal background checks on gun purchases and a limit on high capacity magazines. Democratic Senate President John Morse is also proposing a bill that would make manufacturers and sellers of assault weapons liable for shootings.

“They make killing machines, machines that are designed for nothing else but killing and they have absolute immunity and no-one else has that,” said Morse.

Morse’s idea has legal challenges because it would violate a federal law already on the books. Even though Democrats control both legislative chambers he’s not sure how united Democrats will be on the various gun proposals.

Morse says universal background checks have a strong chance of passing. Those very background check proposals are something Governor Hickenlooper also supports. A new nationwide Quinnipiac poll also finds that 92 percent of Americans support background check on all sales, 7 percent oppose them.

Bente Birkeland has been reporting on state legislative issues for KUNC and Rocky Mountain Community Radio since 2006. Originally, from Minnesota, Bente likes to hike and ski in her spare time. She keeps track of state politics throughout the year but is especially busy during the annual legislative session from January through early May.
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