15-round ammo limit heads to guv
DENVER—The Colorado House accepted changes Wednesday the Senate made to one of two gun bills, sending one to the governor and the other to a conference committee to iron out problems with it.
Lawmakers voted largely along party lines to send a bill to limit gun magazines to 15 rounds to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who has indicated he will sign it.
But a measure to require background checks on all firearms purchases still needed more work, and will now end up in the hands of a conference committee of representatives and senators to work out changes made dealing with corporate ownership of firearms.
Republicans argued the change doesn’t take into account the difficulty in requiring background checks within associations, such as shooting clubs, or family-owned corporations, such as farm and ranch operations.
“This section is designed to prevent people from setting up corporations to purchase firearms, rather than having them purchased by individuals, so if a corporation is buying guns, then, yes, members of the corporations have to go through a background check,” said Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, one of the bill’s sponsors.
“So the example would be that my family corporation that I’m in with my parents, my siblings, and our children, in order for them to continue to collect guns ... every one of those members would have to pay for a background check,” asked Rep. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, whose family operates a large farm in northeast Colorado. “That means 23 or 24 individual background checks” to purchase one gun.
At first, Democrats tried to argue that would only have to happen once. Later they conceded it would be for each purchase, and as a result, reversed course and agreed to try to fix that issue before sending it on to the governor.
While Republicans were able to delay final approval of that bill, they lacked the votes to kill a measure to limit gun magazine to holding no more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
GOP lawmakers argued that it would make little difference to someone bent on shooting a lot of people, could drive Colorado gun-accessory manufacturers to relocate to other states and would hinder law-abiding gun owners from exercising their right to possess whatever they want to defend themselves.
“We’re pretending that we’re improving public safety,” said Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker. “This bill doesn’t improve public safety. It puts unnecessary restrictions on law-abiding citizens. It also will create a market, black or not, for people who want to acquire these.”
As with the bill when it was approved in the House last month, three Democrats voted against it. Still, it passed on a 34-30 vote, with one Republican absent.