DENVER, CO, March 5, 2013 — It was an incredible day in the legislature today as six gun control bills written by billionaire New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg were heard in the Colorado senate Judiciary and State Affairs committees. The bills were divided between the two committees in order to be heard and passed more quickly. Testimony was scheduled to begin at 10:30 am and was limited to two hours for each bill. Most speakers were to be limited to three minutes each at the discretion of the bill sponsor. The six bills—four of which were already passed by the House—are:
SB-195: Prohibit Colorado citizens from taking online CCW training courses
SB-196: Sen. Morse’s de facto “Assault Weapons” ban.
HB-1224: Bans all magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
HB-1226: Bans armed self-defense on college campuses; expanding criminal safe-zones to all state college and university campuses.
HB-1228: Imposes a gun tax on all firearm purchases. This legislation has no limit on the amount the CBI could charge for a background check.
HB-1229: Bans the private sale of firearms and expands background checks/gun registration for all Colorado gun owners.
All except the first have proven to be highly controversial.
The bills are hastily written and contain many unintended consequences. Nineteen Colorado county sheriffs came to the capitol to testify in opposition. In January, all 62 of the state’s county sheriffs signed a letter in opposition to the proposed bills.
The sheriffs testified against HB-1224, saying that the magazine ban would be ineffective and impossible to enforce. Columbine survivor Evan Todd also testified in opposition to HB-1224. The Columbine shooting happened during the Clinton-Feinstein assault weapons ban.
Magpul, a Colorado manufacturer of the popular 30-round magazines has said that they will leave the state if the ban is approved. They have also begun a policy of not selling their magazines to law enforcement in states that do not allow citizens to own them as well. As time permits, they will amend their policy to allow sales to individual law enforcement officials if the official signs an oath to uphold the 2nd and 14th Amendments.
The sheriffs also said in testimony that HB-1229 is written so strictly that a sheriff could not hand his shotgun to someone else to have it repaired without conducting a background check. Sen. Ted Harvey said he couldn’t give his shotgun to his wife when he left town under the bill’s rules – without a background check. Colorado is already one of only a handful of states that conducts both state and federal background checks on firearms purchasers.
The SB-196 would ban, among other firearms, most shotguns. The pheasants and turkeys of Colorado approve: Hunters will be scarce next year.
Kimberly Weeks, rape survivor, told her story of survival and pleaded for the right to carry concealed on campus. Statistics on violent crime at CU supports the contention that concealed carry on campus has reduced crime since 2003. Nevertheless, Democrat Senator Evie Hudak dismissed the testimony, attacking the victim instead by telling her that a gun wouldn’t have protected her. “It feels like I’m losing my rights all over again,” Weeks said.
The Democrats brought in celebrity gun control advocate Mark Kelly to testify for the bills. During his testimony, he admitted he wasn’t an “expert.” According to those present, the Democrats brought in a number of out-of-state advocates for gun control. Another eyewitness said Michael Bloomberg’s lobbyists were seen telling Democrats that they would support their reelection campaigns if they voted in favor of the bills.
Dudley Brown of the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners drew a roomful of applause when he told Sen. Jesse Ullibari (D-Den) that he would fund Ullibari’s electoral opponents.
Second Amendment supporters flooded the capitol Monday, greatly outnumbering gun control advocates. Radio talk show host Michael Brown of KOA suggested last week that supporters should drive around the capitol building, honking their horns. They did and noise was heard – and commented on – for more than ten hours during the hearings, beginning at 8:00 am. Other protesters stood outside all day in the cold and snow.
An airplane was spotted flying over the capitol with a banner reading “Please don’t take our guns.”
In the end, it made little difference to the outcome. All the bills passed on party line votes.
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