The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

February 19, 2013

Colorado House Dems lead passage of gun control bills



DENVER (AP) — Colorado's Democratic-controlled House has narrowly passed a handful of gun control bills, signaling a political shift in the wake of recent mass shootings and pressure from the White House.

"Enough is enough. I'm sick and tired of bloodshed," said Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, who sponsored a bill limiting the size of ammunition magazines. Fields, whose son was fatally shot in 2005, represents the district where a gunman opened fire at a suburban Denver movie theater last summer.

The bill was among four that the legislative chamber passed Monday amid strong resistance from Republicans, who were joined by a few Democrats. The ammunition restrictions measure passed 34-31 after three Democrats joined all Republicans voting no.

House lawmakers began debating Friday, when Vice President Joe Biden called four Democrats to solidify support for the measures. Two were in moderate districts.

Castle Rock Republican Rep. Carole Murray made a reference to the calls on Monday, saying she didn't appreciate "East Coast politicians" trying to influence Colorado legislators.

The House also approved bills requiring background checks on all gun purchases, including those between private sellers and firearms bought online; a ban on concealed firearms at colleges and stadiums; and a requirement that gun purchasers pay for their own background checks. The ammunition restrictions measure would limit magazines to 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns.

The background check measure passed 33-32 in the closest vote of the four.

Republicans argued that the proposals restrict Second Amendment rights and won't prevent mass shootings like the ones in Aurora and a Connecticut elementary school.

"This bill will never keep evil people from doing evil things," said Republican Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg.

Republicans also said students should have the right to defend themselves.

"Do not disarm our young adults in general and our young women in particular on our college campuses in the name of a gun-free zone," Republican Rep. Jim Wilson said.

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