DENVER (AP) – Stronger prohibitions on gun ownership by domestic abusers and required in-person training for concealed-carry permits advanced in the Colorado House on Friday.
The Democrat-sponsored measures received initial approval on an unrecorded voice vote are opposed by Republicans, but did not garner as much heated debate as other gun legislation Democrats have already passed, including expanded background checks and limiting the size of ammunition magazines.
One bill would allow some online gun education for permit-seekers but would require them to prove in person handgun competency, such as showing how to safely carry a gun or know where the safety is.
“Where in the Constitution does it say you have to have online training or any training to exercise your Second Amendment rights?” said Rep. Perry Buck, a Republican who spoke against the bill.
Another bill strengthens a ban on gun ownership by domestic-violence offenders by establishing a process through the courts for them to relinquish their firearms. Domestic violence offenders are already prohibited from possessing firearms, but Democratic Rep. Beth McCann, the bill sponsor, said the proposal “puts teeth into what’s already in law.”
The House still needs to take final votes on the bills. They’re expected to pass by majority Democrats and soon head to the governor’s desk.
“This is clearly a bill that relates to our public safety, and particularly the public safety of those who are involved in domestic violence situations,” McCann said.
Republican Rep. Chris Holbert, said he was worried gun owners losing their personal property.
“What we are creating here, what is proposed in the bill, is a scenario by which vindictive actions can be taken between domestic partners, spouses,” Holbert said.
He said that when a couple is in a troubled relationship, one party can call police “and puts the other in a position of forfeiting personal property without due process.”
Democrats noted that only people subjected to protection orders, or convicted of a domestic violence offense, would be affected.
The two bills are among a package of legislation Democrats proposed in response to mass shootings last year at a suburban Denver movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school.
– By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer
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