(Feb. 8) – Wrapping up what has become an annual marathon, Democrats on the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee voted tonight to defeat three bills that would increase the likelihood and severity of gun violence in Colorado.
Defeated on 6-3 party-line votes were these three bills:
- HB17-1036, sponsored by Minority Leader Patrick Neville, R-Castle Rock, and Rep. Kim Ransom, R-Littleton, would have allowed anyone with a concealed carry permit to have a gun on school grounds. “I believe teachers should focus on teaching and nurturing our children, not act as armed security,” Rep. Susan Lontine, D-Denver, told the committee.
- HB17-1037, the perennial “stand your ground” bill by Rep. Justin Everett, R-Littleton, granting immunity to workers who shoot people who enter their place of business on the suspicion that the intruder – or is it the customer? – poses a threat. Rep. Edie Hooton, D-Boulder, denounced the bill as “allowing any excuse to kill a human being just because you feel slightly threatened.”
- HB17-1097, sponsored by Reps. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, and Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance, to allow the sale or other transfer of high-capacity magazines like the 100-round magazine used by the shooter in the 2012 Aurora theater massacre. “My vote is to protect the public at large,” Rep. Adrienne Benavidez, D-Adams County, told the committee.
“My district borders the Aurora theater,” said Rep. Jovan Melton, D-Aurora. “That shooter hit 70 people in less than two minutes. My constituents know all too well the devastating impact of high-capacity magazines.”
Testifying against the bills were Jane Dougherty of Littleton, whose sister was killed in the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Conn.; Tom Mauser, also of Littleton, whose son was killed in the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School; and representatives of the Colorado Education Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Colorado PTA, Safe Campus Colorado, Padres y Jóvenes Unidos, the League of Women Voters, Colorado Ceasefire, Colorado Faith Communities United to End Gun Violence, Hunters Against Gun Violence and Progress Now Colorado.
“Increasing the number and firepower of guns in our society is not the solution,” Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, the chairman of the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee, said after the panel’s eight-and-a-half-hour hearing on the three bills.