Trio of gun bills move on; two others withdrawn
DENVER - Three controversial gun bills passed their final votes in the Senate on Monday morning, with two more scheduled for afternoon votes.
Monday's votes followed a daylong debate Friday that lasted until nearly midnight and that saw Democrats withdraw two of their most controversial bills.
The bills that died Friday would have banned concealed weapons on college campuses and imposed legal liability on the owners and sellers of many types of guns.
Monday morning, the Senate gave its final approval to bills requiring background checks for private-party sales, in-person training for concealed weapons permits and gun confiscation for suspects in certain domestic violence cases.
Still to come Monday afternoon were votes to limit the size of ammunition magazines and to charge gun buyers a fee for their own background checks.
Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, argued for her background check bill, saying it will prevent criminals from getting guns.
"There is no way other than a background check to make sure those folks don't access firearms," Carroll said. "If we fail to close this loophole, we are saying that the difference between law-abiding citizens and criminals isn't worth making."
So far, just one Democrat has defected on any of the votes. Sen. Lois Tochtrop, D-Thornton, voted against the background check bill.
Sen. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, became one of the first two Republican votes on any of the Democrats' gun bils when she voted to require in-person training to get a concealed weapons permit.
A vote to force certain domestic violence suspects to surrender their guns passed 20-15 on party lines.
"This bill is ripe for abuse," said Sen. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs. "This bill is ripe for confiscation of private property. This bill is ripe for asserting that guns are the problem, not the people who use them."
Most of the bills will have to go to the House for further votes before they pass the full Legislature.
Although some states have stricter gun control laws, Colorado offers a test case on whether a moderate, pro-gun Western state will accept some of the same gun-control measures being considered in the U.S. Congress.
"The eyes of the nation are upon us. What we do today matters to everybody," said Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, during Friday's debate.
Colorado Democrats hold a 20-15 advantage in the Senate, so they can afford to lose only two votes on any of the bills.