Colorado Senate Advances Gun Control Bill After More Than 9 Hours Of Debate

Mar 23, 2019

Democrats in the Colorado Senate advanced a gun control bill late Friday evening despite fierce opposition from Republicans.

The extreme risk protection order bill would allow police to take away someone’s firearm if a judge determines they pose a significant risk to themselves or others.

The legislation is now one vote in the Senate away from heading to Governor Jared Polis’ desk.

Supporters of the bill say it will save lives and prevent deadly gun violence.

Opponents fear the protection orders will be abused and put police in harms way when they have to go and take away someone’s guns.

It was difficult to tell Friday evening whether all of the democrats in the Senate voted for the proposal because the bill was passed using a quick voice vote where the count is not recorded.

Democrats hold a 19-16 majority in the chamber.

That vote followed more than 9 hours of debate over the measure.

Five Republican senators left the Capitol building for the weekend before the Senate took the vote and finished its business.

Senators Ray Scott, Don Coram, Larry Crowder, Kevin Priola and Jim Smallwood were all marked ‘absent’ because they did not have permission from Senate President Leroy Garcia to leave before the senate adjourned.

Earlier in the day, Republicans tried to stall the debate over the measure.

Senator Owen Hill was asking for several bills to be read at length, a tactic other Republican senators have used in recent days to slow down big pieces of legislation they think their Democratic colleagues are advancing too quickly.

Democrats have made the gun control measure one of their top legislative priorities this session.

“Coloradans are tired of living with the consequences of inaction,” House Speaker KC Becker said on the first day of the session. “They are marching in the streets and taking to the halls of this building. And they are demanding action on gun sense legislation.”

The Senate could give final approval to the exreme risk protection order bill as soon as Monday.

Sen. Scott said Sunday that he and the other Republican senators who left before Friday's vote had received permission to leave early from Majority Leader Steve Fenberg.

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