Democrats in the House preliminarily approved a bill Friday that will make the purchase, transfer or possession of magazines that contain more than 15 bullets a misdemeanor.
The debate on House Bill 224 took up most of the day Friday, and lawmakers had three other gun bills on the agenda for the day when the vote was taken at 3 p.m.
Author of the bill, Rep. Rhonda Fields, R-Aurora, said that historically the common link between mass shootings has been high-capacity magazines. Including the shooting in her district this summer at an Aurora movie theater that killed 12 people and wounded 58.
“They are using high capacity magazines to unload as many bullets as they can to kill as many people as possible,” Fields said. Banning the high-capacity magazines would save lives in these mass shootings.
Almost every Republican in the House spoke against the bill.
The outnumbered GOP members argued the bill would do little to enhance public safety and would only remove the viable self-defense tool from the hands of law abiding citizens.
Others argued that manufacturers in Colorado of high-capacity magazines would move out of the state costing the state jobs and revenue.
“We’re doing it because that’s the way the political whims are blowing,” House Republican Leader Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs said. “Make no mistake we are not pushing this piece of legislation for any reason to enhance public safety. I have never been more disappointed in my time in the legislature than I am right now because of the approach we are taking with this piece of legislation.”
Lawmakers are now discussing a bill to create universal background checks that would require private gun sales to conduct the checks for felonies an other criminal activities that prohibit a person from purchasing a gun.