On Tuesday the Colorado Senate decided 21-13 in a voice vote to pass a bill that would repeal the state’s 15-round limit on ammunition magazines. According to The Denver Post, the bill is now awaiting a final vote as early as this week before being sent to the House, where Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst (D-Boulder) stated that it will not pass despite popular support from gun owners.
The magazine limit, which banned the sale of any magazine capable of holding more than 15 rounds, is part of a package of gun control measures that were signed into law in 2013 shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting. With gun control once again on the forefront of national debate in the early months of 2013, Colorado’s Democrat-controlled legislature managed to pass a number of restrictive firearm-related laws, which also included a ban on “assault weapons” and overhauled the state’s background check system. As a state that has a reputation for gun ownership and self-reliance, the laws came as a big surprise to many pro-gun advocates and the ensuing controversy resulted in the recall of two Democratic state senators. When Republicans regained a majority in the state Senate last November—the first time in a decade—lawmakers made it a priority to repeal the state’s restrictive gun laws, starting with the magazine ban.
“It’s an inanimate object,” Senator John Cooke (R-Greeley) told The Coloradoan regarding the magazines. “This is not evil. What is evil is in the hearts and the minds of men, and that’s what we need to work on.”
Critics of the magazine limit argue that the law does little to improve public safety and is hard to enforce. Law enforcement officers have said that it is near impossible to identify standard-capacity magazines purchased before the ban took effect, and those bought after. In fact, 55 of the state’s 62 elected sheriffs agreed, citing “practical difficulties” with the law and refusing to enforce it entirely or else placing enforcement of the law at “a very low priority.”
Supporters of the magazine limit however, say that the law will prevent mass shooters from using magazines with over 15 rounds, which could save lives. Observers agree that the Republican-backed bill may have a tough time surviving the Democrat-controlled house, which is resistant to repealing the 2013 law and has already rejected a similar bill previously. If the bill does pass the Senate in its final vote as expected, the legislation will likely go to the House’s Committee on State, Veterans and Military Affairs. Should it pass the house, the bill will then be sent to Governor John Hickenlooper, a vocal supporter of the magazine ban.
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