DENVER | A Republican-led attempt to expand gun rights and ease controls adopted by Colorado after mass shootings in 2012 failed Monday following the testimony of survivors of gun violence and activists.
It was the second consecutive year a Democrat-led House panel rejected efforts to scale back laws adopted in 2013. One proposal not brought up this year: A repeal of state background checks for all private sales.
“Here it is, deja vu,” said Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields. “If these laws stop the taking of one life … that means they’re working,” said the Aurora lawmaker, whose son was slain in 2005.
“We will continue to show up year after year” to defend gun controls, said Jane Dougherty, whose sister Mary Sherlach was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in 2012. Also testifying were Tom Mauser, whose son Daniel was killed in the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, and Tom Sullivan, who lost his son Alex in the 2012 Aurora theater shooting.
Colorado was one of the only states to pass laws that limited the size of ammunition magazines and expanded background checks after the Sandy Hook and theater shootings, in which dozens were killed and wounded. Democrats controlled both state chambers at the time; the GOP now controls the state Senate.
Rejected Monday were a bill to allow concealed carry of handguns on public school grounds; a bill to repeal a 15-round magazine limit that was adopted in 2013; and a bill to allow active-duty military personnel to carry concealed handguns without permits.
The committee also defeated a bill to remove all permits for concealed carry, and another to expand protections against prosecution when a business owner or employee uses deadly force against an intruder.