100 Gun Rights Activists Greeted Colorado Lawmakers At State Capitol
DENVER (CBS4)– About 100 gun rights activists greeted Colorado lawmakers at the state Capitol before the 2013 state legislative session on Wednesday.
The demonstrators were chanting “Freedom! Freedom!” and carrying flags, urging lawmakers to resist whittling away their rights.
While they were demonstrating outside, newly-inducted House Speaker Mark Ferrandino was inside addressing the issue.
“How to curb gun violence that cost us so many of our sons and daugthers,” said Ferrandino, a Democrat.
In the wake of the shootings at the Century 16 Theater in Aurora and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. gun control is expected to be a hot topic in the state legislature.
“Maybe eight or 10 different bills from mental health issues to banning high-capacity magazines,” said House Minority Leader Mark Waller, a Republican.
Those issues on the table may range from having armed school resource officers in every Colorado school, banning assault rifles and mental health screening for potential gun buyers.
State Representative Beth McCann said the goal is simple; to keep Coloradans safe.
“We do want to make our community safer and we do want to make it more difficult for people who shouldn’t have guns with them,” said McCann, a Democrat representing Denver.
Waller agrees that mental health is a key issue in the gun control discussion but he believes implementation could be a problem.
“The devil’s in the details. You have to figure out what is a mental issue that would rule you incapable of owning a firearm,” said Waller.
Waller also said that tinkering with the right to bear arms is a slippery slope.
McCann counters that any issue of public safety is worth a discussion, “I respect the Second Amendment but I think you can have reasonable regulations on any amendment.”
As both sides brace for a spirited debate, one aspect of gun control is getting bi-partisan support.
“It’s a very complicated issue you have to look at,” said Waller.
Gov. John Hickenlooper joined 14 other governors to discuss gun control with Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday.