Republicans will introduce a bill in the Colorado state legislature Monday to repeal a ban on ammunition magazines capable of holding more than 15 rounds.
The ban was arguably the most controversial new law to come out of the Democratic-controlled legislature last year.
A similar bill will be introduced in the state Senate on Wednesday.
The new law went into effect July 1 and was the primary catalyst for the historic recall of two Democratic state senators who supported it and another new law requiring universal background checks.
It’s also responsible for at least two gun-parts manufacturers that are in the process of moving out of state, including Magpul Industries, which makes now-outlawed 30-round magazines.
Like a similar attempt to repeal the background check law last week, the effort to repeal the magazine ban stands almost no chance of getting out of committee Monday. Despite the two recalls, Democrats still control the state legislature, albeit only by one seat in the state Senate.
But bill sponsor Rep. Chris Holbert, a Republican, told CBS Denver that the real reason for the bill is to allow opponents a chance to be heard. One of the main criticisms of last year’s contentious debate around the new gun laws is that many people who wanted to testify in opposition were never heard.
“I’m hearing from the supporters of the repeal that they understand … how unlikely it is that this bill would pass,” Holbert told the station. “But it does give them the opportunity to participate in the process.”
Last year, Democrats scheduled committee hearings on several gun bills at once, meaning that hundreds of opponents of the new legislation had to pick and choose which laws they would speak against. Even then, with testimony continuing for hours, not everyone had a chance to testify, including several elected sheriffs who’d traveled from across the state to voice their opposition.
An investigation recently by the Fort Collins Coloradoan found that the Colorado State Patrol and the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office had reported no violations of the new law. Sheriffs say it’s impossible to enforce, since anyone who owned a 30-round magazine before July 1 was allowed to keep it. Wyoming gun stores reported that Coloradans simply buy the magazines north of the border and bring them home, knowing it’s impossible to tell when or where they were bought.
Democratic Rep. Rhonda Fields sponsored the magazine ban last year and said it was intended to force shooters like James Holmes, who’s on trial for killing 12 people at an Aurora movie theater in 2012, to reload more often.
“It’s just to give people an opportunity to save lives if someone decides to go into a venue like that,” she told CBS Denver.
If the attempt to repeal the background check law is an indicator, there will likely be scores of people testifying on both sides of the issue late into the night Monday. Legislators heard more than six hours of testimony on the background check repeal before voting it down along party lines.
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