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All Four Dem Gun Proposals Pass House, Advance To The Senate

Stephen Butler
Flickr - Creative Commons

A controversial package of Democratic gun control bills cleared the Colorado House Monday. The measures now head to the state Senate.

The first bill lawmakers passed would limit high capacity magazines to 15 rounds.

“A bill like this will save lives,” said Democratic house speaker Mark Ferrandino. “And while we have to make sure we’re protecting the second amendment. We also have to protect life. That is also fundamental to what we do here.”

“Fifteen rounds is a lot of rounds, but it could cause that hesitation that could save another 15 lives,” said Democratic representative Beth McCann of Denver, one of the main sponsors of house bill 1224.

That is not a view shared by the opposition. Republicans argue the bill will never keep evil people from doing evil things, or reduce gun violence.

“There is no correlation between the size of the magazine and the amount of gun violence,” said Representative Jerry Sonnenberg (R-Sterling). “So what is the purpose and goal of this bill? Is it just to do something because you feel you have to do something?”

The mood during the debate was somber with several opponents getting choked up and teary when explaining their no votes. Representative Ed Vigil (D- Fort Garland) says his rural district is filled with people who hunt and fish and rely on weapons and high capacity magazines.

“It’s part of what it took to settle this land. I cannot turn my back on that. I feel like I have to defend our second amendment.”

The magazine limit passed largely along party lines with only three Democratic no votes, including Vigil. He was the only Democrat to vote against the entire package of four bills. Lawmakers also moved forward a measure to ban concealed carry weapons on college campuses and require universal background checks for gun purchases.

A bill to make people pay a fee for a background check narrowly passed as well, by only one vote.

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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