Colorado lawmakers advance gun control bills

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 5, 2013 at 8:30 am •  Published: March 5, 2013
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Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Tucson, Ariz., was severely wounded in a mass shooting in January 2011 while meeting with constituents.

Gun control opponents say the proposals will not reduce violence. They say lawmakers should focus on strengthening access to mental health services for people who could be dangerous to communities.

The bill hearings were at times testy, and included some outbursts from the audience. After one bill passed, someone leaving the committee yelled "That sucks!" to lawmakers.

"I've never seen such unprofessional behavior," Democratic Sen. Irene Aguilar told the audience at one point.

The commotion at the Capitol underscored the attention the debate has generated nationally from gun rights groups, such as the National Rifle Association, to victims' families and White House officials.

One of the nation's largest producers of ammunition magazines, Colorado-based Magpul, has threatened to leave the state if lawmakers restrict the size of its products. Its founder said smaller magazines can be easily connected to each other and the company fears it would be legally liable if people were to do that.

Victims who have lost relatives to gun violence say it's time for legislators to take action.

Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was among the 12 killed in the Aurora theater shooting, was among the people urging lawmakers to pass magazine restrictions.

"He was enjoying the movie one second, and then the next second he was dead," Tom Sullivan said.

Jane Dougherty, whose sister, Mary Sherlach, was a psychologist killed in the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., has been lobbying Colorado lawmakers to pass new gun laws. She said she doesn't understand gun owners who worry the bills are putting a burden on their rights.

She said the Connecticut shooter used "the same type of weapon that we use in war" to "slaughter these babies" and asked lawmakers for stricter gun laws.

"We cannot wait for yet another massacre to transpire," Dougherty said.

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Associated Press writer Alexandra Tilsley contributed to this report.

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Ivan Moreno is on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ivanjourno

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