DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado state lawmakers have returned to the issue of gun control again with seven weapons bills being introduced at the Capitol on Monday.
Republicans hope to repeal laws put in place last session. They say lawmakers and Gov. John Hickenlooper went too far last year. But supporters of those laws are at the Capitol as well.
A group of fired up mothers gathered inside the Capitol Monday morning to protest against the several bills introduced to repeal gun laws. Of the seven bills scheduled to be committee hearings Monday, five will be in the House, and two in the Senate.
“Just like Bill Murray on ‘Groundhog Day’ we woke up and it’s the same thing all over again,” Jennifer Hope with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense told lawmakers. “We can handle six more weeks of winter, but what we can’t handle is six more weeks of senseless repeal efforts.”
The bills include a repeal of the large ammunition magazine ban and concealed carry requirements.
The first issue in committee for the House has a very similar version in the Senate — expanded background checks. It applies to purchases online and private sales and transfers. Democrats have said the additional requirements were necessary to close a loophole that made it easier for criminals to get weapons.
“Background checks are proven to work,” said Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora, the bill’s original sponsor.
Fields said the state did nearly 9,000 background checks on private sales over the last year and 98 people were denied guns because of criminal records.
“So that meant that we really probably saved lives by not having these people have access to those guns,” Fields said.
Republicans opposed to the expanded background checks, saying there’s no proof it curbs violence and is a burden for law-abiding citizens.
“It may have kept some people who shouldn’t get weapons from getting them through the legitimate process, but I guarantee you it doesn’t mean that those people aren’t continuing to get weapons outside of that process,” said Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs.
Cadman called the law unenforceable, unfair and unconstitutional.
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Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America says the bills put children’s lives in danger.
“We want to keep our kids safe, and by repealing these laws, that allows the dangerously mentally ill and convicted criminals to get access to guns,” Hope said. “And then we can’t keep our kids safe on the streets, in the malls, in the parks and near our schools.”
It’s expected that the two bills in Senate will pass, but ultimately because of the split House and Senate all of the bills are expected to die.
A look at the proposals up for consideration provided by The Associated Press:
– Repealing new background check requirements and the user fees that go along with them. The same proposal is making its way through each chamber.
– Undoing the limit on ammunition magazines. That bill is starting in the House, so its prospects are dim. However, Republicans may try again later in the Senate.
– Allowing anyone over 21 who can legally possess a gun to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, except on school grounds. That bill is up for a vote in the Senate.
– Expanding protections against prosecution when a business owner or employee uses deadly force against an intruder. Homeowners already have that protection under current law. The proposal involving business has been tried many times, and its chances are slim again because it’s in the House.
– Reducing the civil liability of businesses that let people carry concealed firearms, with a permit, on their premises. The bill, which sponsors say is intended to allow an armed response to an attack, is being considered by the House.