03/13/2013 05:02 pm ET

High-Capacity Magazines Limit Bill Passed In Colorado House, Gov. John Hickenooper Expected To Sign Into Law

A bill that bans the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines in Colorado, limiting them to a maximum of 15 rounds passed the state House Wednesday and now heads to Gov. John Hickenlooper who is expected to sign the bill into law.

House Bill 1224 passed on a 34-30 vote with three Democratic lawmakers siding against the bill with Republicans, Rep. Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo), Rep. Steve Lebsock (D-Thornton) and Rep. Ed Vigil (D-Fort Garland), The Denver Post reports. Read the full text of HB-1224 here.

"This bill is an attempt to reduce the slaughter," Senate sponsor of the bill Sen. Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) said, in early March when the measure passed in Senate Committee.

"There's no place in our community and in our neighborhoods for high-capacity magazines," Rep. Rhonda Fields, the House sponsor of the bill, said during the hearing today. "This bill is about public safety. This bill is about saving lives," Fields added.

Rep. Fields, whose son was murdered by a gunman in 2005, is sponsoring a number of bills this legislative session aimed at reducing gun violence in the state.

More on the bill's passage from The AP:

DENVER (AP) -- Fiercely debated ammunition limits have cleared Colorado's Democratic Legislature and are on their way to the governor, who has said he'll sign the measure into law.

The 15-round magazine limit would make Colorado the first state outside the East Coast to ratchet back gun rights after last year's deadly shooting sprees. Colorado's gun-control debates have been closely watched because of the state's gun-loving frontier heritage and painful history of mass shootings.

Colorado lawmakers decided to keep negotiating on a bill to expand background-check requirements to most private and online gun sales.

The measures are part of a Democratic gun control package that has been the focus of much debate, drawing thousands to the state Capitol over the past week. The GOP has decried the whole package as a bad reaction to last year's horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn., and at a suburban Denver movie theater.

One of the most vocal opponents of the bill, Magpul -- an Erie-based gun accessory manufacturer, one of the largest gun accessory makers in the nation -- had threatened to leave the state if the bill were to pass. Richard Fitzpatrick, founder and CEO of Magpul, reiterated those sentiments today during the hearing for the bill.

“Making products that are illegal here in Colorado is counter to our values,” Fitzpatrick said, Fox31 reports.

During the various hearings of the bill, Republicans have questioned if banning high-capacity magazines that can hold 30, or even 100 rounds, would actually save lives.

The bill which also limits shotgun magazines to 8 shells, has already passed the state House and now moves on to Hickenlooper's desk.

Colorado, home to two of the bloodiest mass shootings in American history -- the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and the Aurora movie theater shooting in 2012 -- has recently taken the lead in the debate over gun control in America.

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.



Pivotal Moments In The Federal Gun Control Debate