#coleg notebook: Monday Gun Day

Day 27: Seven gun bills introduced, Senate works to seal sex-traffic victims’ records, powdered alcohol still a thing

#coleg notebook: Monday Gun Day

DENVER — In the wake of the deadly Aurora movie theater and Sandy Hook elementary school mass shootings in 2013, Colorado Democratic lawmakers passed a suite of gun-control laws, which outraged Republicans have been trying to repeal ever since.

coleg notebook insert The laws that passed were not attempting to impose radical policy, despite the rhetoric that has surrounded them. The laws, for example, closed loopholes on gun-purchase background checks, banned gun ownership for convicted violent domestic abusers and outlawed the sale in-state of all ammunition magazines holding 15 rounds or more. This year, the state is run by a split government that leans solidly Democratic. Democrats control the House and the governor’s office, while Republicans enjoy a one-seat majority in the Senate. Yet today, no fewer than seven gun-related bills sponsored by Republicans headed into committee. They have little to no chance of passing. They are not meant to pass. Attacking the state’s gun laws is clearly a matter of ideology, political brand identity and primary campaign-reality smarts.

So, today is officially “Monday, Gun Day” at the Capitol. Testimony is expected to run late into the evening. The afternoon opened with a Groundhog Day-themed press conference from pro-gun control group Moms Demand Action.

A bipartisan measure to grant business owners civil immunity if they decide to allow people to carry concealed weapons on their premises was Colorado Springs freshman Republican Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt’s first bill and also the first measure of the day to fall in the House state affairs committee on a party-line 6 to 5 vote.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee listened to testimony, including via video feed from the Western Slope, on Colorado Springs Republican Sen. Ken Lambert’s measure to repeal background checks on private gun transfers.

Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado State Shooting Association, testified in support of the repeal, saying that it made some sport shooting programs unworkable for his organization.

In the House, another Colorado Springs lawmaker, Rep. Janak Joshi, presented the identical House version of the background check repeal bill.

Chief John Jackson of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police was having none of the proposed repeal.

“The public supports this measure in strong terms poll after poll,” he said, noting that a 2013 Quinnipiac poll puts that support at about 84 percent.

Jackson added that more than 6,000 people failed the background checks in 2014 alone and were prevented from buying guns.

“The largest number of denials came from assault, drug, burglary or sexual assault convictions,” said Jackson.

The private transfer background check passed on a party-line vote in the Republican-controlled Senate, 3 to 2, while it was heard simultaneously and later failed on a party-line vote in the House, 6 to 5. 

Floor notes: Sealed records for sex trafficking victims

Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Denver, won unanimous approval for her bill to allow the victims of human trafficking to opt to seal or expunge any related criminal records. The measure, SB 30, is scheduled for final vote in the Senate tomorrow.

More on powdered alcohol

Colorado’s proposed ban on powdered alcohol looks like it may hold water, as they say:

But how will the issue fare in the Republican-controlled Senate? The ban appears to cut jaggedly across party lines. It appeals to some liberals as a public safety measure and repels some conservatives as being anti-free market.

Annie Get Your Gun image from Wikipedia

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About the Author

Tessa Cheek

She writes and makes photos about communities. Her book, Great Wall Style, a monograph-profile-lyric essay, is out from Images Publishing. tcheek@coloradoindependent.com | 720-440-2527 | @tessacheek

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