Colorado legislature makes moves on more gun control — with a little extra push from Biden

posted at 3:31 pm on February 18, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

After a marathon session of debate on Friday, Colorado lawmakers got two steps closer to passing a couple of new state-wide gun restrictions, including background checks on private gun sales and placing capacity limits on ammunition magazines. The NYT reports:

After hours of debate that lasted well into the evening, Colorado’s House of Representatives gave initial approval to legislation requiring background checks on private gun sales and placing limits on ammunition magazines — measures that were being watched nationally by advocates on both sides of the issue. …

“All this bill does is make us law-abiding citizens go through another hoop,” said State Representative Jerry Sonnenberg, a Republican from Sterling. “It doesn’t stop criminals, those that can’t get background checks, those that are felons, from breaking into my house and stealing my guns. Doesn’t stop them from meeting a guy down the street and buying a gun there.”

But with Democrats holding a majority in the House, both bills received preliminary approval. The bills must receive a final House vote, which could come as early as Monday, before heading to the State Senate, where Democrats also outnumber Republicans.

Funnily enough, those happen to be some of the exact sorts of ideas currently being pushed by the White House — which probably explained why the vice president made a few calls to more moderate Democratic Colorado legislators facing the politically difficult vote, just to give ’em a little nudge in the White House’s preferred direction. Biden happened to be vacationing in nearby Aspen, and took it upon himself to communicate just how helpful it would be for the national narrative the Obama administration is trying to push if state legislatures really got behind the ideas on their own. The Washington Times reports:

Mr. Biden, who was vacationing Friday in Aspen, called a handful of Democratic legislators from swing districts to urge them to support the proposals, which included universal background checks for gun transfers and a 15-round limit on ammunition magazines.

“I was totally surprised,” Democratic state Rep. Tony Exum of Colorado Springs told Fox affiliate KDVR-TV. “He [Mr. Biden] just said he’s watching us and asked if we had a chance to move these bills forward and said what an important signal it would send to the country if we do.”

Really, it would just be so accommodating of Colorado if they could help provide political ammunition with which the White House could bolster their own gun-control messaging and agenda, you know. A Western swing state supporting their own versions of Obama’s proposals would make for some mighty convenient political cover — even if it does mean possible trouble for some of those state Democrats come the next election time, seeing as how the state House just went from Republican to Democratic control last November:

Though it took lawmakers more than five fours to debate the first bill, the magazine measure, Republicans weren’t looking at their watches — but at the 2014 calendar.

They predict Democrats in swing districts who vote for the gun bills are going to be in big trouble back home.

“I think it’s going to produce incredible results for us in 2014,” said Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument.

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Comment pages: 1 2

I’ve been in Colorado over 30 years – but if these bills go through, I’ll have to start considering Texas.

dentarthurdent on February 18, 2013 at 5:39 PM

They all passed.

A quick update on the draconian gun bills that were heard today on the House Floor for final passage:

• HB-1224: Bans all magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. FINAL VOTE: 34-31 with Democrat Reps. Garcia, Lebsock, and Vigil voting NO.

• HB-1226: Bans armed self-defense on college campuses; expanding criminal safe-zones to all state college and university campuses. FINAL VOTE: 34-31 with Democrat Reps. Garcia, Lebsock, and Vigil voting NO.

• HB-1228: Imposes a Jim Crow-style gun tax on all purchases. This legislation has no limit on the amount the CBI could charge for a background check. FINAL VOTE: 33-32 with Democrat Reps. Garcia, Mitsch-Bush, Vigil, and Young voting NO.

• HB-1229: Bans the private sale of firearms and institutes universal background checks/gun registration for all Colorado gun owners. FINAL VOTE: 36-29 with Democrat Rep. Vigil voting NO.

These pieces of anti-gun legislation can still be stopped. Contact your Senator today to let them know you expect a “NO” vote on these gun control bills. You can find your Senator’s contact information at You can also get involved by volunteering in RMGO’s Call to Action at

jwehman on February 18, 2013 at 8:06 PM

jwehman on February 18, 2013 at 8:06 PM

The last one is incorrect. Private sales are still allowed, it will now require a background check unless its a collectible or to a direct family member. Makes no sense to ban private sales and to require a universal background check on private sales. I like RMGO but Dudly some times makes these out to be more than they are. He’s correct on all the others though.

jawkneemusic on February 18, 2013 at 9:32 PM

My hope is that we can get a media outlet to publish the home addresses of all the so called “representatives” who voted for these intolerable bills. It worked for permit holders in NY, it should also work for these swine. Bring the issue right to their doorstep with peaceful protest on their territory, and let them fear the wrath of a free people.

djtnt on February 18, 2013 at 10:23 PM

jawkneemusic on February 18, 2013 at 9:32 PM

Actually, if you require background checks for all sales, then you have effectively eliminated private sales. When I run the check, the government now has a record of my intended sale. It’s no longer private. I think that’s the premise behind the wording.

GWB on February 19, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Comment pages: 1 2