The shootings led Hickenlooper and other state Democrats to take on gun control, and they have succeeded where their party has not in most other states.
This month, Washington State’s Democrat-controlled House couldn’t advance a universal background check bill. A bill requiring background checks at gun shows in New Mexico also failed in the Democrat-led Legislature.
The bills getting Hickenlooper’s signature are centerpieces of a package of Democratic gun bills introduced this session. With his signature, gun sales and transfers between private parties and purchases conducted online will be subjected to background checks. Ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds will be banned and subject to criminal penalties. Both bills take effect July 1.
Lawmakers debated firearms proposals after the Columbine High School shootings in Colorado in 1999, and began requiring background checks for buyers at gun shows. But nothing they did then was as sweeping as the proposals they took up this year.
Republicans have warned that voters will punish Hickenlooper and other Democrats who voted in favor of the measures.
“I’m telling you, they have overreached, and there are going to be electoral consequences,” said Republican Sen. Greg Brophy.
A Colorado-based manufacturer of magazines plans to relocate because of the new restrictions. Republicans have bashed Democrats, saying their proposal to limit magazine sizes will drive jobs from the state, and ultimately won’t prevent criminals from getting larger magazines in other states.
Some county sheriffs also opposed the new background checks, arguing they’re unenforceable and endanger people’s Second Amendment rights. Two ballot measures have already been proposed to try to undo the gun restrictions.
By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer (© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)