Colo. House passes gun-control measures

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm •  Published: February 18, 2013
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DENVER (AP) — Limits on the size of ammunition magazines and universal background checks passed the Colorado House on Monday, during a second day of emotional debates that has drawn attention from the White House as lawmakers try to address recent mass shootings.

The bills were among four that the Democratic-controlled House passed amid strong resistance from Republicans, who were joined by a few Democrats to make some of the votes close.

The proposed ammunition restrictions limit magazines to 15 rounds for firearms, and eight for shotguns. Three Democrats joined all Republicans voting no on the bill, but the proposal passed 34-31.

"Enough is enough. I'm sick and tired of bloodshed," said Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields, a sponsor of the bill and representative of the district where the shootings at an Aurora theater happened last summer. Fields' son was also fatally shot in 2005.

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.

The House also approved a bill requiring background checks on all gun purchases, including those between private sellers and firearms bought online.

Other proposals would ban concealed firearms at colleges and stadiums, and another requires that gun purchasers pay for their own background checks. Democrats eked out the closest vote on the background check measure, which passed on a 33-32 vote.

Democratic Rep. Ed Vigil, who represents rural southern Colorado, voted against the four bills, saying his decision was rooted in the state's rugged history.

"This is part of our heritage. This is part of what it took to settle this land. I cannot turn my back on that," he said.

But even though a few Democrats joined Republicans in voting no for the bills, the Democrats' 37-28 advantage in the House gave them enough leeway.

The Senate still needs to consider the proposals. Democrats will need to be more unified in their support there because their advantage is only 20-15. That means Republicans need only three Democrats to join them to defeat the bills.

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