Colorado Democrats Announce Gun Violence Legislation Package

UPDATE: The Durango Herald's Joe Hanel:

Democrats got an endorsement Tuesday from Jane Dougherty, a Colorado woman who lost her sister, Mary Sherlach, in the Connecticut elementary school shooting.

“Assault weapons are weapons of war. They belong on a battlefield. They have no place in a home,” Dougherty said.

Her sister died while running toward the gunman, she said.

“As our elected representatives, it is your job to keep our citizens safer,” Dougherty said. “Be brave. Be brave like my sister.”

Meanwhile, GOP Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman issues a statement in response to today's press conference:

"The bill of rights was written to protect us from our own government because America’s founders feared these kinds of proposals. What part of 'shall not be infringed' is unclear? This is the only amendment with this caveat – the founders were adamant on this. The Colorado Constitution says the right of no person to keep and bear arms shall be 'called into question.' These extreme proposals disregard our civil rights." 

"These proposals cannot make Coloradans safer," Cadman said. "When only criminals have guns, more citizens will become victims." 

"The extreme liberal wing of the ruling class would rather make us criminals, than allow us to protect our families from criminals." 

FOX 31's Will Holden reports today:

Colorado Democrats introduced eight new bills at a legislative session Tuesday, calling them a “measured approach” to gun violence focusing on gun control and mental health.

Perhaps the most consequential of the eight bills is the proposed Assault Weapon Responsibility Act.

According to FOX31 Denver political reporter Eli Stokols, the bill is not calling for a ban on assault weapons. Instead, Stokols said it’s aim is to create stricter liability for gun manufacturers, sellers and owners dealing only with assault weapons — not with handguns, shotguns and bolt action rifles…

[Other] bills deal with universal background checks, a ban on high capacity magazines, new mental health support programs, domestic violence safeguards, in-person training for concealed carry permits, a requirement for individuals to pay for their own background checks and the prohibiting of concealed carry on most college campuses, stadiums and arenas.

Check out more information on all eight pieces of legislation here. It took some time for Democrats to hammer out this package of legislation, proceeding from an abundance of caution in our tradtionally gun-friendly state. As you can see, there's no outright assault weapons ban in the offing as many Republicans had feared.

In the case of the Assault Weapon Responsibility Act, the bill from Senate President John Morse to impose legal liability on assault weapons, there is a 2005 federal law, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, that currently shields gun manufacturers from liability. The new Colorado legislation pertains to the owner, possessor, seller and manufacturer of a firearm. It would apply to gun owners immediately, but manufacturers and sellers would not be affected until the PLCAA is overturned either by Congress or in the courts. Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House to do just that–H.R. 332, the Equal Access to Justice for Victims of Gun Violence Act, sponsored by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). While that bill faces long odds, now it has some state-level backup.

All told, it's a bold but still measured response to the growing call for action by government at all levels to reduce gun violence. We'll update as more coverage and statements come in.

23 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    This is one of the times I am very very proud of our representatives. Really good job coming up with something well thought out and comprehensive.

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    that bill from Morse sounds like a good one

    • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

      Sure! If committing our state to expensive litigation is the plan, this is great.

      Why do Colorado Democrats always think they are the highest authority in the land? You're not.

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        It's the influence of those damn "states rights" republicans. I'm glad to see ou now approving of federal supremacy on these issues 🙂

        • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

          Laugh it up, simpleton. If you had ever read the Constitution, you'd know about the Tenth Amendment. I believe in that Amendment AND the others, like the Second.

          • BlueCatBlueCat says:

            You do know that the Supreme Court has long allowed limits on the supposedly limitless right to bear arms? Unless of course you're the simpleton 

            Fully automatic machine guns have long been illegal and  many sets of Supremes don't seem to have had a problem with that.  What about shoulder mounted rocket launchers.?  Do you think the Supreme Court would rule in favor  of a billionaire who wanted to enjoy his uninfringed right to bear arms by buying his very own nuclear sub, arming it and keeping it in an American harbor?

            You do know that every right has limits as illustrated by the classic case of guaranteed freedom of speech not including the right to shout fire in a crowded theater, right? That all rights are limited by the reality of bumping up against other rights?

            And as for the Rush world cries of  "tyranny", as long as we're a government of the people, elected by the people through a legitimate electoral process, that government cannot be characterized as an example of the kind of tyranny the forefathers were referring to, even if you really, really don't like it. Tyranny would, as a first step,  require taking away the people's right to elect their chosen representatives, presidents, governors,  etc.  Passing laws you don't like or issuing executive orders that pass legal muster but with which you disagree doesn't come close to qualifying as "tyranny" .

            Now, trying to prevent people from voting and trying to gerrymander more seats for the party a minoritity votes for so that the majorities who vote for the other party can't have their way does come closer and is a long standing GOP specialty. As is passing state legislation that takes away a woman's constitutionally guaranteed right to choose by imposing regulations with which no abortion clinic could possibly comply, rendering the constitutional right moot in the face of the reality of no access. Not the kind of thing you'd expect from members of the party that constantly yowls about their superior love for constitutional  rights.   Unless, of course they are hypocrites or simpletons.

            If anything, Dems should be the ones looking to arm themselves against tyranny.  We prefer the electoral process and relying on our fellow American voters, more and more of whom are and will be voting our way in every election from now until your wing of the GOP is ousted by a more intelligent, less simpletonian,  less ArapGOPish faction.

          • AristotleAristotle says:

            You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. Or frothing…

      • Craig says:

        Why do you?  The Democrats got elected to the majority this time.  Your republicans were soundly rejected.  You know, to the victors go the spoils.  As for the Constitution, even Justice Roberts in the majority opinion upholding the individual right to bear a weapon allowed as how reasonable restrictions were OK.  All of these restrictions have previously been approved by courts all over the country.  Nothing new or revolutionary here.  The only lawsuits will be from your 8%, yeah that's right 8%, who don't favor background checks.  I dare say there is no issue that Americans are more united on than that we ought to have universal background checks.

        Please quit talking about the law, it's clear that you know nothing about it.

        But, after what happened to Romney and the polls, well I guess you don't believe in polls anymore, except for the liberal ones at Dailykos, Huffington Post and 538 that predicted the election correctly.

        • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

          This is about liability for manufacturers, like suing Coors for somebody's DUI or suing Ford when that drunk driver hits somebody. The person commits the crime, not the device. Go after the right people. This sets a terrible legal precedent. Even Democrat tort lovers should see that.

          • Again, the devil is in the details.

            Gun manufacturers shouldn't be liable for the actions of someone else, I think most of us will agree – and I suspect that Democrats in the legislature wil consider when crafting the text of the proposed law.

            However, you're not too far off re: Coors. Let's look at the Tobacco industry… For decades they conspired to hide the results of studies proving the deadly effects of their product and they worked to make their product more addictive and desirable. In search of money, they were complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. If a gun manufacturer was proven to be working around gun control laws (e.g. the efforts undertaken by gun manufacturers in the 1990's to avoid the assault rifle ban, or working with sellers to sell guns away from the background check process…) then they should be liable. Are they unwisely promoting their product in a way that triggers or encourages a shooting? This isn't any different from a beer company promoting DUI in an ad, where they could be held liable.

            The current Federal law bars even these cases from being prosecuted. Let the courts strike down a couple of frivolous cases and proper boundaries will be set.

          • MADCO says:

            This is about liability for manufacturers, like suing Coors for somebody's DUI or suing Ford when that drunk driver hits somebody. The person commits the crime, not the device. Go after the right people.


            When a drunk driver injures someone or causes damage,   they have insurance Are you suggesting that having to insure your weapons and or ammunition would be the better approach?

      • gaf says:

        Right. The county Sheriffs and El Paso County Commissioners are the highest authority in the land.

  3. This looks like a good package of bills, though of course the devil is in the details.

    The liability bill if crafted correctly would reenforce the universal background check law and ensure that manufacturers and sellers are being responsible in promoting safety with guns. A successful stab at this type of bill would address AGOP's supposed problem with excessive litigation by limiting liability to instances of actual negligence.

    The magazine ban would be best backed up by a buy-back, but it addresses important issues by prohibiting the resale of these magazines once the ban is in effect.

    These are responsible and measured approaches IMHO. If followed up with as much thought and reason as the initial summary proposals, they could prove to be examples for the rest of the country.

    • AristotleAristotle says:

      I'm not sure I like the gun manufacturers being liable, but I guess it's more universal than trying to tie homeowner's insurance liabilities to gun ownership, given that millions are not homeowners and also don't have renter's coverage. (Although I suppose a liability could be tied to landlords…)

  4. gaf says:

    Shorter Republican response: No, we don't want to be held responsible for our guns.

    • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

      Nonsense. We're all legally responsible for what we DO. Products are not responsible for what people do with them.

      • gaf says:

        Tlhe point of the proposed legislation is, you are responsible for what you do with your gun. My point was, Republicans are opposing that legislation.

        • ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

          But that's NOT the point of the proposed legislation. The point is, the gun manufacturer/seller/owner/ANYONE other than the shooter would be responsible for with you do with your gun.

          But I agree with your point. Every person should be responsible for what they do.

          • gaf says:

            If you are negligent, you are responsible. If you make a straw purchase, you are responsible. If you sell it or give it away to someone without a background check and documentation, you are responsible. Follow the law and act responsibly, no problem.

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