Guns and Gear

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

By far the most controversial bill is Senate president John Morse’s proposal to hold owners, sellers and makers of such popular rifles as AR-15s accountable for damage caused by the weapons, a bill that requires some contortion to get around a federal law that generally immunizes the gun industry from liability.

Even some Democrats balked at the idea from the start, and it’s the only one of the seven gun bills that the Post doesn’t endorse (albeit only because the Post prefers a straight ban on assault rifles). It must pass both the Senate and the House before arriving on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk.

But there’s a real chance that bill and the others might not clear the Senate. Minority Leader Bill Cadman told the Post that Republicans “are planning a historical, monumental effort to make a sound case against these proposals.”

That push will come both behind the scenes as Second Amendment advocates and gun rights lobbyists ratchet up the pressure on Democratic senators as well as on the floor of the Senate Friday during what’s being predicted to be another marathon debate on all seven bills that will keep senators in the capitol well into the evening.

Despite Democrats’ majority in the legislature, constituent pressure may be having an effect slowing down a process that many thought would go smoothly for Democrats. Lawmakers have reported being inundated with email and phone calls from people on both sides of the gun debate, but lately the gun-rights crowd has had the louder voice.

On Monday, hundreds showed up in person at the capitol to protest the bills, backed up by a caravan of motorists who circled the building for hours laying on their horns.

Friday’s debate promises more of the same, perhaps on a larger scale. One Second Amendment advocate tweeted on Thursday to ask if “any rednecks out there have time to rig up a train horn for their truck in time for Friday’s proceedings at the Capitol?”

Whether he was kidding or not, it’s clear that opponents of these bills are willing to fight them to the wire. And with a number of Democratic senators telling the Post that they’re still undecided about some of the proposed legislation, they’re as close now as they’ll ever be to defeating the bills.

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