Today’s main event at the Colorado Capitol kicks off at 1:30PM in the freshly-renovated Room 271, where the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs “kill committee” will debate a total of six Republican bills pertaining to guns:
AP via 9NEWS reports:
Republicans get their last chance of the year Monday to change Colorado’s firearm laws. Lawmakers will consider several proposals, including two bills to eliminate gun-control measures passed by Democrats in 2013…
The Democrat-led House committee hearing the bills Monday is expected to reject them. Other proposals expected to go down include bills to allow concealed handguns at public schools, and to let people to carry concealed firearms without a permit.
Today’s hearing is expected to drag on for many hours. Senate Bill 15-175, the bill that would repeal the 2013 law limiting gun magazines to 15 rounds, is expected to draw the most testimony, and being up first should be a good indicator of how long a night is really in store. We’ve been consistently surprised by the small turnout from the gun lobby and their supporters for hearings to repeal the 2013 gun safety laws–in marked contrast to the huge crowds of gun rights supporters who flooded the Capitol during the original debate. Supporters of the 2013 laws, on the other hand, have consistently mounted a strong defense, even outnumbering witnesses testifying against, and plan to do so again today. From Everytown for Gun Safety’s release:
Jane Dougherty, a Coloradan whose sister Mary Sherlach was the Sandy Hook Elementary school psychologist killed in December 2012, plans to speak out on a number of the bills, including HB1168, legislation to force concealed carry guns in public schools.
“The last thing we need is to force guns into our elementary schools, middle schools and high schools,” said Dougherty. “This misguided idea of arming teachers is the gun lobby’s answer to what happened at Sandy Hook and Columbine High School right here in Colorado. Do we, as parents, believe that putting guns into our teachers’ hands in our children’s classrooms is the best answer to gun violence in our schools? Our teachers and administrators went into education to teach and nurture our children, not to become sharp shooters.”
Alcorn and Dougherty will be joined by other advocates for gun violence prevention, including Jennifer Hope, a volunteer leader with the Colorado chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Dave Hoover, a police officer and the uncle of AJ Boik who was killed in the Aurora Theater mass shooting, and Tom Sullivan, father of Alex Sullivan who was killed in the Aurora Theater mass shooting.
One other item to watch today is a red-on-red spat developing between Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute and Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. The dispute centers on “tracker” video from some weeks ago of Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar, who says again that he will vote against the magazine limit repeal, but also says he might be willing to compromise for an amendment increasing the limit to 30 rounds. RMGO has declared this theoretical compromise a no-go, hilariously labeling it the “Caldara-Salazar Permanent Magazine Ban.” Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported on this sideshow to the main event Friday, but we don’t expect it to amount to more than another chance for Brown and RMGO to bedevil fellow Republicans. Even if this is an idea you think has merit, at least two RMGO-owned Republicans on the committee would be even less likely to vote for it than Democrats–making the path to success perilous at best.
The upshot to another late night of sound and fury on guns? It’s the last one of 2015, folks. We’ll update as events warrant.