A bill that prohibits convicted domestic violence offenders from possessing firearms passed in the Colorado Senate Monday morning. Senate Bill-197 passed the Senate on a 20-15 party line vote.
Fox31 reports that Republicans in opposition to the bill spent very little time arguing against it, however, Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman (R-Colorado Springs) said that it was a bill Republicans wanted to support but could not in its current form.
"This bill is ripe for abuse," Cadman said, The Denver Post reports. "It's ripe for confiscation of personal private property."
Republicans are expected to argue at great length over two other bills facing a vote today: The universal background checks on all gun sales bill and the high capacity magazine ban bill which limits magazines to 15 rounds.
SB-197 prohibits gun possession from only those convicted of certain felonies involving domestic violence or certain misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence that qualify under the firearms prohibitions of the federal law. It would also prohibit guns from individuals subject to certain protection orders that qualify under the firearms prohibitions of the federal law from possessing guns. Courts would then order those persons to relinquish their guns within 24 hours although that order could be extended to 72 hours by a judge. After a protection order has been lifted, the person could get their gun rights back.
The Denver Post reports that 13 people were shot and killed by domestic violence offenders in 2011, deaths that may have been stopped with a law like this.
SB-197 now moves to the House for debate and vote. Read the full text of SB-197 here.
“This bill is more than a 'feel-good'," bill sponsor Sen. Evie Hudak said in response to statements from opponents of the bill, Fox31 reported last week when the bill passed Senate committee. "I will feel good when fewer people die."
Colorado Democrats began the morning pushing five bold, new gun control bills after two were withdrawn on Friday -- Senate Bill 196 which makes manufacturers, owners civilly liable for damages if their weapon is used in crime, and House Bill 1226 which bans concealed-carry permit holders from possessing a firearm on college campuses.
Even though the Democrats gun bill package has been narrowed down, there is still steep opposition to the remaining five bills from Colorado Republicans, The Associated Press reports:
The chamber was debating five of seven bills in the Democrats' gun-control package. Other measures included a gun ban for people accused of domestic violence crimes and a ban on online-only gun training for a concealed carry permit. The final measure would revive background check fees for gun purchasers.
Republican Senate Leader Bill Cadman said the Democrats have an "anti-gun agenda" and that the measures they sponsored wouldn't make Colorado safer. Speaking against the domestic-violence bill, Cadman said Democrats believe "guns are the problem in society and not the people that use those guns."
Even without the two most divisive Democratic proposals, the gun-control package attracted plenty of opposition. Gun-right supporters were especially steamed about the magazine ammunition limit, which has prompted at least one company to threaten to leave Colorado. Magpul, an accessories maker in Erie, has said it will ship hundreds of jobs out of state, even though the ammunition bill was amended to allow Magpul to keep making the magazines for out-of-state sale.
Republicans have complained that Democrats are wrong to limit ammunition magazines over Magpul's threats.
"Jobs, jobs, jobs – all leaving Colorado," Republican Sen. Scott Renfroe said last week.
Although many Republican lawmakers and gun rights supporters have voiced opposition to the gun bills, recent polling from Project New America/Chris Keating and The Denver Post found that a majority of Coloradans' favor stricter gun control.
Fox31 first reported on a survey from PNA/Chris Keating which asked 905 Colorado voters, in general, if they favor stricter gun control -- 55 percent of Colorado voters said they favor of stricter gun control, while only 40 percent were opposed.
The same poll also asked Colorado voters about specific gun law proposals and the margin of support was wide for nearly all the measures in question, according to PNA/Chris Keating:
- 95 percent of voters agree that people with "serious mental health problems" should be prevented from owning a gun.
- 80 percent of voters agree that judges should be able to order someone who is "convicted of domestic violence or given a restraining order" to surrender their guns to the court.
- 80 percent of voters agree that all private gun sales should go through a licensed dealer and be subject to a background check.
- 65 percent of voters agree that guns should be banned on college and university campuses.
- 61 percent of voters agree that the sale and possession of semi-automatic guns and assault rifles should be banned.
- 61 percent of voters agree that the sale and possession of high-capacity ammunition clips, which allow some guns to shoot more than 10 bullets before reloading, should be banned.
The PNA/Keating poll echoes similar sentiments found in a recent Denver Post poll which found greater support for gun control measures than for gun-owner rights. According to The Denver Post, 60 percent of Colorado voters support proposals that would: ban assault-style rifles, limit high-capacity magazines and require universal background checks on all gun sales.
Although the Post poll found that 50 percent of those who responded say it is more important to protect gun ownership to 45 percent who say it is more important to control gun ownership, those percentages have shifted significantly since the last time the Post conducted the same poll in September. Last September, the breakdown was 56 percent saying it was more important to protect gun rights to only 39 percent saying it was more important to control guns.
A Look At Colorado's Gun Control Bills
Senate Bill 195: Makes concealed-carry permit holders complete training class in person, rather than online.
Senate Bill 197: Prevents persons who have committed domestic violence from possessing firearms.
House Bill 1224: Bans high-capacity magazines limiting them to 15 rounds per magazine.
House Bill 1228: Requires gun buyers to pay for costs of background check.
House Bill 1229: Requires background checks on all gun transfers.
House Bill 1226: Bans concealed-carry permit holders from possessing a firearm on college campuses.
Senate Bill 196: Makes manufacturers, owners civilly liable for damages if their weapon is used in crime.