TUESDAY UPDATE: Sen. Michael Johnston's memorable address to the Senate in favor of House Bill 1224 yesterday in its entirety:
FOX 31 covered Johnston's speech:
“Any society that holds more than one value, holds no value absolutely,” Johnston said, arguing that the Second Amendment, like all Constitutional rights, has its limits.
Johnston also spoke emotionally about the Newtown, Conn school shooting, noting that the only victims who were spared were those who escaped as the gunman finally reloaded.
“Every single bullet mattered. Because he put the gun to the head of a 5-year-old, one after the other, and made sure he never missed,” Johnston said.
“In that 11 seconds when he reloaded, 11 kids got away. What if that were a 15-round mag. We could have picked 11 of those little five foot coffins and chosen not to fill them.”
UPDATE: 5:20PM: House Bill 1224, limiting magazine capacity, wins final Senate passage on an 18-17 vote. Democrats Cheri Jahn and Lois Tochtrop oppose as expected, but other Senators hold firm.
UPDATE 4:45PM: In a dramatic speech on the Senate floor, GOP Sen. Greg Brophy announces that he will "not obey" House Bill 1224, limiting gun magazine capacity, if passed. No truth to the rumor that Brophy took his ball and went home last weekend when his kickball team was losing.
But seriously, this is an elected member of the legislature publicly announcing that he will refuse to obey a law if it is passed in the legislature, of which he is a member. That's not a principled stand. It's cowardice. It's childish. And it send a terrible message to families around the state: If you don't like the law, then just ignore it!
UPDATE 12:00PM: House Bill 1229, closing the background check loophole, wins final Senate passage 19-16 with Democratic Sen. Lois Tochtrop dissenting as expected. The Senate earlier passed Senate Bill 197 20-15 (party line) on third reading, denying guns to persons who commit domestic violence.
Democrats moved forward with new ammunition magazine limits and universal background checks. But they withdrew two of the most controversial pieces of the package, including a gun ban on college campuses and a measure to hold assault-weapon owners liable for damages caused by their weapons…
Friday’s gun debate stretched past 12 hours, with Republicans in the Senate taking turns trying to defeat the gun controls. Democrats pulled the two most divisive bills before Republicans could speak against them. At least three Democrats were planning to side with the GOP, a margin big enough to defeat those measures.
A formal Senate vote on the measures is required [this] week before the bills clear the Senate. Republicans took to Twitter immediately after debate concluded late Friday to urge changed votes by Monday.
We've heard reports of gun-rights advocates and Republican legislators working overtime this weekend on a last-ditch strategy to peel off one or two more Democrats–especially from House Bill 1224, the bill limiting magazine capacity on which Republicans are making their final stand. It's worth noting that the killing of two of the most controversial bills by their Democratic sponsors–Sen. Rollie Heath's gaffe-plagued House Bill 1226 restricting on-campus concealed weapons, and Senate President John Morse's assault weapons liability bill–have given Republicans substantially less to complain about. That said, the onslaught of conservative messaging on Twitter and social media hasn't changed much since those bills died. For all the conservatives on Twitter still ranting on about House Bill 1226, you'd think it hadn't died at all.
The debate over gun safety legislation in Colorado this year has been repeatedly marred by sudden incidents of intense misinformation disseminated via online conservative media outlets, which has then provoked large angry mobs to turn out for protests, town hall meetings regardless of their topic, and of course legislative testimony and debates. In many cases, though not always, these lies were quickly debunked by local press and Democratic countermessaging, often preventing the latest untrue or wildly off-base narrative from even being picked up in mainstream media–at which time gun rights advocates simply moved on to another false-trending-ludicrous claim, and back to their own well-developed message dissemination networks, to rile up the base.
It's not an exaggeration, folks. Elected Republican legislators have claimed that these bills would outlaw private sales of guns, require registration of guns, ban shotguns, ban every kind of gun that uses a magazine, ban every kind of magazine, require a background check for your spouse, on and on–and it was all bullshit. The simple objective was to lie more, and to more people, than fact-checkers could keep up with. An angry, misinformed mob wasn't just a consequence of this purposeful campaign of lies. It was the objective.
The fact is, we can't tell you with certainty that Republicans won't be successful in this last-ditch effort to kill House Bill 1224. One operative likened the expected behavior from Rocky Mountain Gun Owners' director Dudley Brown this weekend to that of an old machete-wielding warlord trying to stay in power by piling up heads. In key ways, though, RMGO has already lost–there's no realistic path for them to kill the background checks bill, House Bill 1229, which they say will force them to take down their lucrative Colorado Gun Market website. Experts tell us it won't–and if background checks do kill the Colorado Gun Market, it needed to happen. RMGO may also have reached the limits of its power–in threatening a Democratic primary challenger to Sen. Angela Giron. Be assured, a group so radical that the NRA won't even touch them has no power in the Democratic Party.
We'll know much more by the end of today how this will play out, and we'll update with reports as they come in.