DENVER (CBS4) – Retired astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords are helping launch a new gun control group in Colorado. This one is made up of gun owners.
The effort comes as gun sales are down, and the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up a gun rights case for the first time in nine years.
Colorado Gun Owners for Safety is made up of sport shooters, gun collectors and hunters like Mike Heyka.
“We’re not gun grabbers nor do we believe in arming everyone with guns is the answer. We are the moderate middle.”
They say they were moved to action by shootings like that of Giffords, who told them, “Now is the time to come together, be responsible.”
Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, is also a gun owner.
“Strong Second Amendment rights I believe go hand in hand with stronger gun laws,” he said.
The new group will help push for gun control at the State Capitol.
“I think what we’ve seen is the public has shifted a lot,” said Rep. Alec Garnett, who plans to sponsor a bill to allow family or law enforcement to temporarily take someone’s guns if a judge deems them mentally unstable. “We’re in a place to move forward on something to save lives. Everyone should feel the pressure to make sure we get this done. I think we will this year.”
The bill failed last year in a Republican-controlled Senate.
“I don’t believe that this makes Coloradans any safer,” said Republican Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg. He says the bill is unconstitutional. “So we’re doing away with that due process, and that’s a concern for me.”
He’s concerned too about the new gun control group being the voice for gun owners. None of them are Republican.
Mark Kelly says the gun lobby isn’t the voice for gun owners either. He says he welcomes any gun owner who supports their mission.
“It would be great if this group was bigger, and we had Republican gun owners, and I’m sure we’re looking for them.”
Gov. Jared Polis, who is friends with former Congresswoman Giffords, met with her privately. No word on whether they discussed gun control.
Polis has indicated support for taking guns temporarily from people who are mentally unstable and with Democrats in control of both chambers, the bill will likely pass this year.