Jane Dougherty and Tom Sullivan watched from the gallery Monday as the Senate debated and then approved a bill that would repeal the 15-round magazine ban that Dougherty and Sullivan fought to pass in 2013 after their loved ones were slain by shooters toting guns outfitted with high-capacity magazines.
“The fact of the matter is my sister is dead and my sister did die as a result of high-capacity magazines,” said Dougherty, whose sister, Mary Sherlach, was killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting by a crazed man wielding an automatic rifle fed by a Magpul 30-round magazine. “We’re just trying to reduce the number of bullets and possibly save some lives. It’s not about plastic and springs.”
She added that nine children at the school were able to escape while the shooter reloaded.
Sullivan lost his son Alex in the Aurora Theater Shooting of 2012.
“Once [James Holmes] turned on that crowd of 400 people and pointed a weapon with a 100-round magazine attached to it, Alex didn’t have a chance,” he said. “Alex died instantly. He didn’t get to move. He didn’t get to scream out. He was watching the movie and then he was dead. Those are the facts.”
Lawmakers revisited many of the arguments that have characterized a now three-year debate about gun control and its impact on public safety. As the Independent reported last week, arguments still turn on ideas about protection, whether it is better to have a weapons to protect yourself with or to work for greater protection against weapons themselves.
“It’s probably true that we will go on and on for years debating this particular issue about guns and guns safety. And it’s probably true that whoever has the majority will be the one to decide,” said Sen. Lucia Guzman, D-Denver, arguing against the repeal. “I’m here to ask you, and to ask myself, to continue to think about what this means, to really go much more deeply into this entire issue of guns and safety and what these bills mean to the safety of the people of Colorado.”
Lawmakers and advocates on both sides of the gun control debate, will have several more opportunities to discuss the repeal this session. The measure is likely to pass the Republican-controlled Senate this week and then join a suite of gun bills to be heard in the House.
A lil youthful inspiration
Senate President Pro Tempore Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, welcomed the Legislative Youth Council to the chambers today.
“We should seek to do just as well as they do,” Roberts told The Colorado Independent . “When they’re talking among themselves on policy issues… they’re so respectful and open to hearing different perspectives. I tell them, ‘You guys need to rub off on us.’ Not to be too Polly Anna about it, but my hope is that we can strive as individuals and as a body to have something that, if any Social Studies class is watching from the gallery, the kids go, ‘I’d like to do that.”
I’ll blow your house down
It’s construction defects week at the Capitol. That means a white-hot debate about whether the cost of home construction can be brought down by giving homeowners less time to file lawsuits for shoddily-built houses or by trading litigation for mediation.
Senate Bills 91 and 177 aim to ramp-up home construction and thus make housing more affordable. Advocates say reducing liability will encourage developers to build cheaper multi-use housing. Opponents say the measures will reduce consumer rights and that the lack of condo construction in particular is more market-driven than anything else.
House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder, has said the bills will prpbably not make it through the House. Gov. John Hickenlooper wants more housing.
[Leading image: Dougherty and Sullivan hold pictures of the family members they lost in mass shootings outside the Senate chambers, Monday. Photo by Tessa Cheek. ]