Second Gun Safety Bill Passes First Committee

(Feb. 12) – Capping 12 hours of impassioned testimony on gun safety measures, the House Judiciary Committee voted tonight to ban the sale or transfer of high-capacity firearms magazines in Colorado.

The 7-4 vote advanced the second bill in the legislative Democrats’ gun safety package. Earlier today, the committee approved a bill to require background checks for all gun sales in Colorado.

“I’m overjoyed that we are finally moving forward on sensible legislation to reduce the threat of gun violence,” said Rep. Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora), a prime sponsor of both the bills that moved forward today.

As amended during the hearing, HB13-1224 would prohibit the sale, transfer or purchase of firearms magazines that can hold more than 15 bullets or more than eight shotgun shells. Possession of large-capacity magazines owned before the inception date of the new law would still be allowed, but those magazines could not be sold or transferred.

The bigger the magazine, the greater the number of bullets the shooter can fire without reloading. The gunman in the Aurora theater used a magazine holding 100 rounds, and the shooter in the Newtown, Conn., elementary school had 30-round magazines for his assault rifle.

Jane Dougherty of Littleton, the sister of one of the adults killed in the Newtown massacre, told the committee today that more children at Sandy Hook Elementary would have died if the shooter hadn’t stopped to reload, giving the surviving kids a few seconds to escape.

“High-capacity magazines were designed for one thing: killing large numbers of people quickly,” said Rep. Fields, whose son was murdered by a gunman in 2005. “They have no place in our communities and on our streets.”

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