Gun-control bills pass Colorado House: Was Aurora a tipping point? (+video)
The Colorado House passed four gun-control measures Monday, a notable shift for a typically libertarian, pro-gun state. Has the political climate changed enough for bills to pass state Senate?
It’s hard to imagine a state that better symbolizes America’s conflicting relationship with guns and gun control than Colorado.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures American Gun Culture
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
A Western state with a strong libertarian streak, it boasts a large number of gun enthusiasts and hunters, and many residents have a knee-jerk reaction against government infringement of individual liberties.
It’s also been host to two of the worst gun massacres in recent years – at Columbine High School and the Aurora movie theater. And, as of the most recent election, it has a state government entirely controlled by Democrats.
Now, Colorado is on its way to enacting a package of gun-control bills that would make the state significantly tougher than any of its Western neighbors. As lawmakers in a number of other states introduce bills trying to preemptively exempt their state from any possible future federal gun restrictions, it’s notable that Colorado is going the other direction. And the mass shootings are a primary driver.
On Monday, the Colorado House of Representatives passed four bills that would place some limits on gun ownership: ammunition magazines limited to 15 rounds, a requirement for background checks for all gun transactions, a requirement that gun purchasers pay for their own background checks, and a ban on concealed guns in stadiums and on college campuses.
"Enough is enough. I'm sick and tired of bloodshed," said Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, a sponsor of both the magazine-capacity bill and the universal background check bill. Representative Fields is from the district where the Aurora shooting took place, and her son was killed in a 2005 shooting.
Now, the bills move on to the state Senate, which is also controlled by Democrats, albeit by a slimmer margin.
“These are draconian controls and not things we’re feeling happy about,” says Dudley Brown, executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.
Mr. Brown says he holds out some hope that the Senate may block at least one of the bills, but either way, his organization plans to target everyone who votes for them in marginal districts in the 2014 elections.