Guns and Gear

Republicans plan ‘historical, monumental’ effort to defeat gun bills

Some of the most controversial gun bills being considered by the Democratic-controlled Colorado legislature might not be the shoo-in legislation that many have assumed them to be. According to an article in the Denver Post, three of seven gun bills being heard in the Colorado Senate on Friday are only one Democratic defection away from defeat.

The endangered bills would ban concealed weapons on college campuses, ban high-capacity magazines, and impose liability on owners, sellers and makers of assault-style weapons. While passions have run high over all of the gun bills introduced this year, these bills have inspired the most robust debate.

Democrats control a thin majority in the Senate of 20-15, meaning Republicans must convince only three of their political opponents to switch sides to kill a bill.

But for these three bills, that margin has narrowed to one, according to the Post, which reports that Democratic Sens. Cheri Jahn and Lois Tochtrop will vote against them.

The concealed carry bill and the bill limiting ammunition magazines to no more than 15 rounds have already passed the House, igniting a firestorm of controversy in the meantime.

In arguing in favor of banning concealed weapons on college campuses, Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar implied that armed women might accidentally shoot innocent people if they mistook them for rapists, earning himself about a week’s worth of mockery on the Internet.

It also gave Republicans a talking point that Democrats don’t trust guns in the hands of women. The argument was revived last week when Democratic Sen. Evie Hudak told a rape survivor that “statistics are not on your side” that she would have been safer with a gun. Hudak later apologized.

The bill to ban high-capacity magazines became a lightning rod when one Colorado manufacturer of such equipment, Magpul Industries — which employs about 200 people and contributes $85 million to the state economy — announced it would leave the state if the bill passes. Magpul turned the controversy into something of a public relations coup, launching a new Cold War-themed advertising campaign and fielding business-development courters from across the country who want the business to relocate to their states.

Magpul even pulled off the best visual of the entire gun-control debate, when Republican Sen. Greg Brophy allowed the company to park its customized truck, which resembled a small armored personnel carrier, in his private parking space in front of the capitol building Friday.