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Colorado Advances Some Gun Control 25 Years After Columbine

A bill to ban the sale and transfer of semi-automatic firearms was nixed in Colorado’s Democratic-controlled Legislature on Tuesday as lawmakers advanced other gun control bills on the 25th anniversary year of the Columbine High School massacre, reports the Associated Press. The state has a deep history with firearms that is pockmarked by some of the most high-profile mass shootings. Both factors loom large over gun control debates in the Legislature, complicating attempts at such bans that nine other Democratic-controlled states have in place, including California and New York. The Colorado House passed the ban in what proponents see as a “tremendous achievement” after roughly the same proposal was nixed last year. Some Senate Democrats are wary of the efficacy and breadth of the ban, which prohibits the sale, transfer and manufacture of semi-automatic firearms.


Colorado’s shift is evident in part by several gun control measures passed last year, including raising the buying age for a gun from 18 to 21. Some half-dozen proposals are nearing passage this year, including a bill to put a measure on the November ballot to tax sales of guns and ammunition. Another would give the Colorado Bureau of Investigation more power to investigate gun sales that are already illegal. A decade ago, two lawmakers were ousted in the state’s first recall elections over their support for bills that set limits on ammunition magazines and expanded background checks. “That history, I think, lingers,” said Democratic state Sen. Julie Gonzales, one of the semi-automatic ban bill’s sponsors. On Tuesday, she asked that the legislation be put to rest in the face of opposition from Senate Democrats. On that committee sits Democratic Sen. Tom Sullivan, who would have been a “no” vote, along with Republican lawmakers who have decried the bill as an encroachment on Second Amendment rights. Sullivan’s son, Alex, was one of 12 killed in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting. Bills nearing the governor’s desk include a proposal to require more rigorous safety training for someone seeking a concealed carry permit. Another would require firearm dealers to obtain a state permit, not just a federal one, to give regulators greater power to enforce state gun laws.

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A daily report co-sponsored by Arizona State University, Criminal Justice Journalists, and the National Criminal Justice Association

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