DENVER (AP) – Republicans in the Colorado Senate used their new majority to pass legislation Monday that would repeal a limit on the size of ammunition magazines – a law widely despised by their party and the impetus for the recall of two Democratic state senators.
But the GOP’s victory in the chamber was expected to be short-lived. Their unrecorded voice vote set up a final vote as soon as this week to move the bill from the Senate to the House, where ruling Democrats previously rejected an identical repeal attempt.
The 2013 law that bans the sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds passed when Democrats controlled both chambers. The law came as a response to mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theater and Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Sen. Morgan Carroll, the leader of Senate Democrats, began Monday’s debate standing next to an easel bearing pictures of victims of the 2012 attack at the Aurora theater.
RELATED STORIES: Gun Control Story Archive
Twelve people were killed and dozens of others were injured. Carroll, who represents the district where the shooting happened, read each of their names.
“I cast my ‘no’ vote today in honor and in memory of those who were murdered and injured and traumatized,” Carroll said.
Republicans gained a Senate majority in November for the first time in 10 years and made repealing the law a priority. They argued it is unenforceable and gives people a false sense of security.
Sen. John Cooke, a Republican and former Weld County sheriff, held an ammunition magazine as he argued for repeal of the law.
“It’s an inanimate object,” Cooke said of the magazine. “This is not evil. What is evil is in the hearts and the minds of men, and that’s what we need to work on.”
Democrats countered that the law makes it harder for mass shooters to get large-capacity magazines.
“Perhaps we can make it more difficult for those who are evil to do damage,” Democratic Sen. Michael Merrifield said.
The law was part of a package of gun-control bills Democrats passed in 2013, and they paid a heavy price. Public outcry over the legislation prompted the ouster of two senators and the resignation of a third while a recall effort was underway.
LINK: Senate Bill 175
(© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)