March 18, 2013
DENVER — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign gun control measures Wednesday that pose limits on ammunition magazines and expand background checks for firearms.
A state government employee with knowledge of the situation confirmed the details to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because a formal announcement has not been made.
The signings would be a victory for Democrats in the debate over gun control in this politically moderate state where gun ownership has been a treasured right.
The proposals were Democratic centerpieces in the party's package of gun legislation aimed at addressing mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theater and Connecticut elementary school last year. The bills would become effective July 1.
Colorado's gun debate has been carefully watched because it's a politically moderate state with a gun-loving frontier history. The new laws would be the first significant gun controls approved this year outside the East Coast.
Republicans reviled both bills and argued the proposals would not prevent more shootings, but hurt law-abiding citizens' exercise of their Second Amendment rights.
The governor also was planning to sign a bill reviving user fees for gun purchasers needing background checks. Colorado charged $10 background-check fees more than a decade ago, but the fees were dropped. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation currently picks up the tab checking prospective gun owners.
Other Democratic gun control proposals still pending in the state Legislature include a ban on gun ownership by people accused of domestic-violence crimes and a bill to eliminate online-only safety training for people seeking concealed-weapons permits.
Two more Democratic gun control bills were withdrawn when they appeared to lack support for passage. Those included a new liability standard for gun owners and sellers, and a ban on concealed weapons on public college campuses.