(April 14) – In a hearing lasting nearly 12 hours, the House State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee dealt a decisive blow overnight to legislative Republicans’ 2015 agenda to undo Colorado’s gun safety laws.
“If you want more guns in the hands of convicted Colorado criminals; if you want guns to be a part of everyday life, everywhere you go; if you want to put our law enforcement officers at greater risk – then this package was for you,” Rep. Su Ryden, D-Aurora, chairwoman of the State, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee, said as six bills went down to defeat. Four of the six were defeated with bipartisan opposition.
Two of the bills attacked Colorado’s background check system, which has been in place since 1994, has widespread public support and has been demonstrated to be effective in preventing felons from obtaining guns. SB15-086 would have repealed background checks on private transfers of guns in Colorado, and HB15-1138 would have repealed background checks for applicants for a concealed handgun carry permit.
A 2000 state referendum and a 2013 bill closing background check loopholes for private gun transfers have, since July 2013, blocked 298 sales to convicted felons, domestic abusers and people under restraining orders.
“No one will die from a background check,” said Jane Dougherty, a Littleton resident whose sister was killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn.
Three more bills tried to gut the state’s concealed-carry system. SB15-032 and HB15-1152 would have waived all concealed-carry limits, and HB15-1168 would have allowed any adult to carry a concealed gun in a school.
Another defeated bill, SB15-175, would have removed all limits on transfers of high-capacity ammunition magazines, like the 100-round magazine used in the Aurora theater massacre.