House passes session’s final two gun bills

By Joe Hanel
Journal Denver Bureau

DENVER – Colorado’s long legislative gunfight ended Monday, when the House of Representatives approved the last two in the Democrats’ package of gun bills.

The bills passed quietly, compared to the raucous scene earlier this year when anti-gun-control activists packed the Capitol and drivers circled the building all day, blaring their horns.

One of the bills, Senate Bill 195, picked up a handful of Republican votes. It requires applicants for a concealed weapons permit to take at least some of their gun safety class from a qualified instructor in person. Currently, people can take the class online.

It passed 40-24, with three Republican votes. When it passed the Senate last month, Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango was one of the two Republicans who voted for it.

A second bill passed with no GOP votes.

SB 197 requires people who have a domestic violence conviction or a restraining order to turn in or sell their guns. They are already prohibited by federal law from possessing guns, but the bill tells judges to mandate that offenders relinquish their guns.

“This bill will allow the intimate partners and family members of domestic abusers to breathe a little easier,” said the sponsor of SB 197, Rep. Beth McCann, D-Denver, in a news release. “It will save lives.”

The bills passed with no debate Monday. On Friday, Republicans argued against the domestic violence bill.

A vindictive partner could call police to report domestic violence and force a spouse to give up his or her guns, said Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker.

“I respect what you’re doing to try to do here and protect people in these scenarios,” Holbert told sponsors. “But I really take offense to a very low concern for the personal property that could be in the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars.”

The bill passed 36-28, with one Democrat and all Republicans voting no.

The concealed weapons bill now goes to Gov. John Hickenlooper for his signature. The domestic violence bill is headed back to the Senate for approval of changes made by the House.

Altogether, Democrats passed five gun bills this year. In addition to the two that passed Monday, the bills require background checks for all sales, limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and make gun buyers pay for their own background checks.

Two gun bills failed. They would have banned concealed weapons on college campuses and imposed heavy legal liability on the sellers and owners of semi-automatic weapons.

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