Parties already sniping over gun-bill procedure

DENVER — Republicans are already playing politics with a proposed gun bill that hasn’t even been introduced yet, Senate Democrats say.

That happened when Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, accused Senate President Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, and Majority Leader Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, on the floor of the Senate Tuesday of violating rules by holding but not yet introducing a bill to repeal background checks on gun purchases.

The bill’s sponsor is Sen. George Rivera, R-Pueblo, who replaced former Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, in a recall election last year that was a backlash to gun measures approved during last year’s session. Rep. Jared Wright, R-Fruita, is the bill’s House sponsor.

Cadman said Carroll violated a Monday deadline for it to be introduced, which is when a measure officially is given a bill number and assigned to a committee. While he said the president seemed to be planning to wait to do that until April 16, Carroll said the real deadline is today, when it will be introduced.

“They failed to make this a bill and put it through the process,” Cadman said.

“You’d have to jump to many, many, many nefarious conclusions without any basis in history or fact to come to the conclusions that he did,” Carroll said. “I’m hard-pressed to call it anything else (other than political theater). The most professional way to handle this was to ask.”

Cadman caught just about everyone off-guard Tuesday when he went to the microphone in the Senate and spent more than 10 minutes haranguing Carroll and Heath for delaying the bill without telling him or Rivera that they planned to do so. Under Senate rules, however, the majority party has the right to schedule bills whenever they want as long as they allow at least one official vote before the session ends in May.

Carroll said she and Heath made that decision because they know the bill will generate a lot of interest, and they wanted to give Rivera and whatever committee will hear it more time to plan for what is expected to be many hours of testimony and debate.

Cadman said the Democrats have “destroyed” any sense of bipartisanship for this year’s session, but Carroll said Cadman is to blame for that.

“If I were him, I’d be a little embarrassed at going off like this when we are 100 percent in compliance with the rules,” she said. “Complying with the rules is not immoral. He’s quick to assume that strange things might happen, and no violation has occurred.”


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