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Lawmakers Consider Elimination Of State Background Check System

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

DENVER (CBS4) – A bill that would make it easier to buy a gun in Colorado has passed its first test in the Legislature.

The proposal to eliminate state background checks for gun buyers won tentative approval in the Republican state House on Monday.

Colorado has been doing its own background check for more than 10 years. The check is done in partnership with a federal background check.

Rep. Mark Waller, the bill’s sponsor, says that system is antiquated and a waste of money because the state process is very similar to the national check done by the FBI.

“Colorado’s is one of only a few states that has a state background check,” he said.

Waller says dropping the state program and just relying on the federal one would save millions.

“We’re spending money unnecessarily on the co-program when the federal government already does it,” Waller said. “In the first year it would save $1.5 million and every year after that around $2 million.”

Rep. Rhonda Fields opposes the bill.

“You eliminate the opportunity for our local law enforcment to determine if there’s any warrants out for someone’s arrest or if there are restraining orders out there,” Fields said.

That was what happened in 1999, when Simon Gonzales shot and killed his 3 young daughters. Colorado only used a federal background check and it didn’t catch a restraining order his wife had against him. It’s the case that reinstated Colorado’s own check.

“I believe anyone who wants a gun should be qualified to own one. And I believe that’s what the CBI check does,” she said, referring to the state test, which is done by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Waller says new technology has made the federal check much better, and it’s enough.

“Requiring people to go through more checks and a background check doesn’t do more to enhance safety,” Waller said. “If someone is going to commit a crime against you they are whether or not they can pass a background check in the state of Colorado.”

House Bill 1048 is going up for a vote in the house Tuesday, where it is expected to pass. But once it’s in the Senate it is expected to face more of a fight.

LINK: House Bill 1048

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