Gun Control Debate Far From Over In Colorado
DENVER (AP) – Gun-control supporters and Colorado Democrats hoping the state’s long debate over new gun laws is over are setting themselves up for disappointment.
A coalition of gun-control supporters who rallied on Capitol steps Monday asked the Democratic state Legislature not to revisit last session’s gun-control package, which included expanded background checks and a limit on ammunition magazines.
“The bills that were signed into law are reasonable and moderate,” said Jane Dougherty, a suburban Denver woman whose sister was killed in the Sandy Hook school shootings almost a year ago.
The pre-emptive strike rally by gun-control supporters won’t change the fact that gun control will again dominate lawmakers’ attention next year.
Two Democratic senators who supported the gun laws were recalled in September, and a third faces a possible recall vote during the legislative session. Republicans are now a single seat away from controlling the state Senate and are already working on bill to repeal or change some parts of the gun package signed into law this year.
“Of course this is going to come up,” said Victor Head, a Pueblo gun-rights supporter who orchestrated the campaign to unseat former Sen. Angela Giron.
Head is now spending his weekends driving north to the Denver suburbs of Arvada and Westminster, where gun-rights supporters are seeking signatures to force a recall election for Democratic Sen. Evie Hudak.
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Hudak opponents have until Dec. 3 to collect about 19,000 signatures seeking a recall. If they succeed, and Hudak doesn’t resign, Colorado’s Democratic governor could be forced to order an unprecedented election of a sitting lawmaker while the Legislature is in session.
If Hudak loses to a Republican, the GOP would take control of the state Senate. Even if Democrats hold on to the seat, gun control is certain to bring election-year fireworks.
“I don’t have real high hopes that the whole package will get repealed, but we’re going to have more debate on it,” Head said.
On the other side, gun-control supporters vow they’ll be back at the Capitol in January, too.
“I’m not backing down. There’s just too much at stake,” said Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was among 12 people killed last year in the Aurora movie theater shootings.
In addition to the background-check law and ammunition magazine limit, the new gun-control laws include required in-person training for concealed permit licenses and allowing judges to remove guns from possession of those suspected of domestic violence.
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
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