(March 13) – The House approved Senate amendments to a gun safety bill today, moving it to the desk of Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature.
HB13-1224 limits the sale, purchase or transfer of large-capacity firearms magazines. It was amended by the Senate, working with gun rights champion David Kopel of the Independence Institute, to limit shotgun magazine capacity to 28 inches of shells – a little more than nine standard 3-inch shells. The House accepted the amended version on a 34-30 vote, making it the second bill to achieve final passage from a package of bills to reduce gun violence in Colorado.
“These are weapons that should be used in a theater of war and not in our local theaters,” Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), who sponsored the magazines bill, told the House. Her district includes the Aurora movie theater where a man with a gun and a 100-round magazine killed or injured 70 people last July.
“This bill is about saving lives,” she said. “I’m running it for my constituents, running it for the state of Colorado, because I believe it will impact public safety, and it makes our communities less dangerous.”
HB13-1229, sponsored by Rep. Beth McCann (D-Denver) and Rep. Fields, closes a huge loophole on background checks for firearms purchasers. It was sent unanimously to a conference committee after many members took issue with an amendment requiring background checks for all members of family trusts and other corporations that own guns.
“My colleagues have identified a legitimate issue in one of the amendments that the Senate adopted regarding background checks for corporate entities,” Rep. Fields said. “I am confident that we can address this issue while still ensuring that corporations are not used to make straw purchases for those individuals who cannot pass background checks.”
Speaker Mark Ferrandino read from an editorial about gun safety published in the Rocky Mountain News in 1859, when Colorado was still a territory.
“These issues have been in front of our state and our people since the founding of the state, and continue,” he told the House. “And that should happen. We should have debate on this. It is an important topic.”