Colorado's governor has called for universal background checks, even on neighbor-to-neighbor sales. His gun posture has shifted somewhat from July, in the days following the Aurora movie theater shooting that killed 12 and injured dozens. Hickenlooper said then that stricter laws would not have prevented the mass shooting.
"I think Gov. Hickenlooper had it right after the Aurora shooting," Keene said. "He said it's not the laws, it's these kinds of people."
Keene said James Holmes, the man charged with the attack, likely couldn't have been stopped, not even with expanded mental health flags in a gun database.
Holmes met with a psychiatrist before the theater shooting but reportedly was not deemed a danger. He spent months amassing an arsenal, both online and at retail gun stores, and passed background checks.
"What we have argued is that if someone has been adjudicated in one way or another to have been, to be potentially violent and mentally ill, they should be in the system," Keene said. "We're not talking about anybody who visits a psychiatrist."
Hickenlooper has proposed enhanced mental health services. But he told the Democratic Legislature in a January address, "It's not enough to prevent dangerous people from getting weapons."
Colorado Senate President John Morse also has suggested making weapons manufacturers liable for damage caused by the products they make, an idea that appears to conflict with federal law banning such liability.
"I'm still trying to figure out what the bill can do and how to do it," Morse said after meeting with Keene.
Colorado's Legislature already has rejected several GOP proposals to reduce gun violence, including a bill to allow school employees to carry concealed weapons. Democrats proposed bills Thursday that would ban high-capacity magazines and clarify that concealed weapons are not allowed in colleges and stadiums.
Kristen Wyatt can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/APkristenwyatt, and Ivan Moreno can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/IvanJourno .