DENVER — Legislators from Adams and Weld counties took to the floor of the Capitol Friday to debate a series of gun safety measures offered in the wake of mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown, Conn.
After a marathon session of pointed talk on the measures and a stream of amendments, all four of the bills aimed at curbing gun violence in Colorado passed initial tests in the state House of Representatives on voice votes carried by the Democratic majority.
The first debate of the morning centered on House Bill 1224 — introduced by state Rep. Rhonda Fields, D-Aurora — to limit the legal magazine size in Colorado to 15 rounds.
Speaking on an amendment to allow Colorado-based businesses to continue manufacturing and transporting higher-capacity magazines to out-of-state interests, state Rep. Kevin Priola, R-Commerce City, said that the bill hurts local business, including magazine manufacturer Magpul, which has an office in Erie.
“Magpul will not support this bill, with the amendment or without the amendment... they believe in the Second Amendment as I do,” Priola said. “We will not equivocate, we will not negotiate. The Second Amendment is there for the people, not for the government.”
State Rep. Joseph A. Salazar, D-Thornton, took exception to comments from some Republicans that adding an exemption for magazine manufacturers wouldn’t be in the best interest of business.
“Ultimately, (MagPul) may be against the bill. But this language is what they were looking for if they stay here. ... This represents us listening to that constituency base.”
Fields — whose district includes the Aurora theater where 12 people were killed and 50 wounded in a shooting spree in July 2012 — read aloud the names of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last December before imploring a ‘yes’ vote on the bill.
“We have seen over and over and over again ... the only thing these massacres have in common is high-capacity magazines,” Fields said.
Following more than six hours of debate, the bill passed on a voice vote. On Monday morning, the bill passed third reading on a 34-31 vote.
In addition to that bill, three others passed on voice vote Friday:
• House Bill 1226, sponsored by state Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, which would ban concealed weapons on college campuses in Colorado.
• House Bill 1228, sponsored by state Rep. Lois Court, D-Denver, which creates a fee for potential gun buyers that covers the cost of background checks performed by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
• House Bill 1229, sponsored by Rep. Fields, which requires background checks for any gun buyer.
Final votes from the House of Representatives’ Monday session were not available for all
the bills as of press time. Visit us online at
www.cvfarmerandminer.com to see how they voted.