Two gun measures fail and five pass in the Colorado Senate

Senator Kevin Grantham (R) reads testimonies against the gun bills in the state senate on March 8. Photo courtesy of Anne Vinnola.
Senator Kevin Grantham (R) reads testimonies against the gun bills in the state senate on March 8. Photo courtesy of Anne Vinnola.

On March 8, the Colorado legislature passed five out of seven proposed new gun control laws.

The Senate passed the bills which will extend background checks to private sales, limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds, requires gun buyers to pay for background checks, ban obtaining a concealed carry permit online and require domestic-violence offenders to relinquish their guns, according to an article in the Washington Times.

The two bills, which did not pass the Senate, would have held gun manufacturer’s liable for crimes committed with weapons sold by them, and the ban on carrying a concealed weapon on a college campus. At least three Democrats sided with Republicans to defeat these two highly controversial bills, according to the Huffington Post.

Colorado has received national attention over the proposed gun laws, with Vice President Joe Biden calling Colorado legislators in February to promote the bills, according to a Washington Times article.

“Cleansing a sickness from our souls doesn’t come easy. It’s gruesome,” Democratic Senate President John Morse, whose gun liability bill was among the two that failed, said.

The Democrats claim victory in the recent drawn-out gun debate, but they do not want to be perceived as anti-gun.

Democratic Sen. Mike Johnston of Denver says he has been a gun owner since the age of 12.

“What is before us is not a constitutional question but a policy question,” Johnston said.

“I’m not in any way an anti-gun person,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said, though he plans to sign all the Senate’s recently passed bills into law.

Republicans, on the other hand, perceive the new gun laws as an infringement on their constitutional liberties, and argued instead for better mental health treatment, according to the Huffington Post.

“We can make as many laws as we want. Until we change the hearts of man, they’re going to continue to do evil things,” Republican Sen. Scott Renfroe said.

Another concern that Republicans had about the bill was the possibility of losing hundreds of Colorado jobs.

Magpul, Colorado’s largest manufacturer of high-capacity ammunition magazines has vowed to leave Colorado if lawmakers pass a measure limiting high capacity magazines, according to the Denver Post.

If the company does indeed leave Colorado, officials with the company say it could cost Colorado hundreds of jobs and more than $85 million in potential spending this year.

“If we’re able to stay in Colorado and manufacture a product, but law-abiding citizens of the state were unable to purchase the product, customers around the state and the nation would boycott us for remaining here,” Doug Smith, Magpul’s chief operating officer said, according to the Denver Post. “Staying here would hurt our business.”

Democrats see the possibility of lost jobs as a price worth paying for the new gun legislation.

“I respect their right to make a business decision and understand they’ve been seeking incentives from a variety of states,” Sen. Mary Hodge, a Democrat, said. “I hope they respect our right to increase the safety of our citizens.”