Republicans push for major changes to Colo. gun laws |

Republicans push for major changes to Colo. gun laws

Ivan Moreno
The Associated Press

DENVER — Republicans get their last chance of the year Monday to change Colorado’s firearm restrictions as legislators consider several proposals, including two to eliminate contentious gun-control measures passed by Democrats in 2013.

One bill would repeal a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines, and another would strike new background-check requirements for private gun sales conducted online and in person.

Democrats passed the laws in response to 2012 mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theater and Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. But their passage two years ago infuriated gun-rights advocates and led to the recalls of two Democratic state senators, as well as the resignation of a third who was facing a recall effort.

While the repeal measures have cleared the GOP-controlled Senate, they’re expected to go down in the Democrat-led House committee hearing them Monday.

“I don’t believe that helps us,” said Democratic House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said about the repeal attempts. “I think what we have passed seems to be working and has not taken away anybody’s gun rights as far as I know — and so I’m not in support of taking steps backwards on any of these.”

This session, House Democrats have already rejected a bill to eliminate the magazine limit. Rep. Stephen Humphrey, R-Severance, sponsored that bill and is carrying the proposal again. “I’m just hopeful that the Democrats will reconsider the law and repeal it,” he said.

Humphrey noted discussions about amending the bill to raise the magazine limit to 30 rounds instead of an outright repeal of the law. But he said he would “be opposed to that in principle,” suggesting that the goal is still to get rid of the law.

“If the Republicans vote for a gun-control measure like that,” Humphrey said of the possibility of raising the limit, “then how do you come back after you pass that and then say, ‘We ought to repeal that bill next year’?”

As with the magazine limit, House Democrats have already rejected an attempt this year to eliminate the expansion of background checks on private sales.

Humphrey said the new background checks infringe on the constitutional right to gun ownership. “It’s a Second Amendment right, and law-abiding citizens by definition aren’t criminals, so it creates a burden on them that doesn’t stop crime,” he said.

Democrats, however, have argued that the new background checks are not burdensome and make it tougher for people with criminal records to get firearms.

Other proposals expected to go down Monday include bills to allow concealed handguns at public schools and to let people to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

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