WASHINGTON — In danger of losing congressional momentum, President Barack Obama is drawing attention to Colorado's newly passed gun control laws as he applies public pressure on Congress to pass similar federal measures.
Obama was traveling to the Denver suburbs Wednesday, stepping up his call for universal background checks for gun buyers as well as his demands for Congress to at least vote on an assault weapons ban and limits on large-capacity ammunition magazines, according to the Associated Press.
The trip is heavy with political symbolism. Colorado expanded background checks and placed restrictions on magazines despite being a state with a deep-rooted hunting tradition, where gun ownership is a cherished right. Moreover, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and community leaders at the Denver Police Academy, not far from the Aurora suburb where a gunman last summer killed 12 people in a movie theater. The president's trip is occurring in the same week that prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty for James Holmes, accused of carrying out the Aurora rampage.
With Congress due to return to Washington after a two-week Easter break, Obama has been scheduling high-profile events on gun legislation to push lawmakers and sustain a drive for some kind of action aimed at curbing gun violence more than three months after the massacre at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
Last week Obama called for legislation while flanked by 21 mothers who have lost children to gun violence. "I haven't forgotten those kids," he declared then.
Some sheriffs oppose more gun control
DENVER (AP) — Some Colorado sheriffs are speaking out against any more gun control measures as President Barack Obama visits the state.
Sixteen sheriffs, including Larimer County's Justin Smith and John Cooke of Weld County, plan to hold a press conference Wednesday in Denver. They'll gather in a park near where the president will meet with law enforcement and community leaders to discuss the gun control package recently signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
He's trying to put pressure on a reluctant Congress to pass federal gun control legislation.
Colorado has gone farther than any state outside the Northeast in passing new gun laws. The state now prohibits the sale of magazines that hold more than 15 bullets and requires background checks for all private gun sales.
The National Weather Service forecasts a high temperature of 52 degrees and partly sunny skies Wednesday in Colorado Springs after light morning precipitation. Expect an overnight low of 34.
Dog owners lobby for training to avoid shootings
DENVER (AP) — Dog lovers concerned about recent cases where law enforcement fatally shot people's pets are lobbying Colorado lawmakers on a bill to train law enforcement on how to handle canine encounters in the line of duty.
The bill is up for its first hearing in a Senate committee Wednesday. Hundreds of dog owners will rally at the Capitol for the bill.
The bill cites "Dog Fancy" magazine recognizing Colorado as one of the most dog-friendly states, and lawmakers say residents consider their dogs to be family members.
The proposal would require sheriff and police departments to train deputies and officers on how to recognize dog behaviors and employ nonlethal methods to control them when necessary.
The County Sheriffs of Colorado worked on the legislation and support it.
Boulder County seeks locations for target shooters
BOULDER (AP) — Boulder County is working with federal, state and local officials to identify locations where future recreational target shooting would be most appropriate on public lands along the northern Front Range.
Several county commissioners on Tuesday said their goal is to provide safe and responsible sport shooting.
According to the Longmont Times-Call (http://tinyurl.com/cugx9mu ), target shooting inside western Boulder County's national forest lands is a topic that has drawn crowds of recreational shooting advocates and critics to commissioners' meetings over the past several years.
Some residents have expressed alarm about the safety of allowing sport shooting to continue in some areas close to public access.
Fight leaves 1 dead; deputy, prosecutor hurt
HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS (AP) — A Michigan man is dead after a shooting in Colorado at the home of a sheriff's deputy and a prosecutor.
Authorities say a deputy district attorney for Colorado's 14th Judicial District called 911 late Monday to report a stranger behaving erratically at her front door in Hot Sulphur Springs. A fight started after the person tried to get into the home, and shots were fired.
Coroner's officials said Tuesday that 32-year-old Joshua Lee Stevens of Coral, Mich., died in the shooting. He was believed to have been in town for about a week, looking for work.
The prosecutor and her husband, who is a Grand County sheriff's deputy, had minor injuries.
Authorities say there are no obvious ties to other recent shootings, including that of Colorado's prisons chief.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1776, George Washington received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard College.
In 1860, the Pony Express began carrying mail between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif. (The service lasted 18 months before giving way to the transcontinental telegraph).
In 1869, Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A Minor, Op. 16, premiered in Copenhagen.
In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in â€¨St. Joseph, Mo., by Robert Ford, a member of James’ gang.
In 1913, British suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst was sentenced to three years in jail for inciting supporters to bomb the home of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George. (Pankhurst served roughly 30 days total in jail.)
In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, N.J., for the kidnap-murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr.
In 1942, during World War II, Japanese forces began their final assault on Bataan against American and Filipino troops who surrendered six days later; the notorious Bataan Death March followed.
In 1946, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander held responsible for the Bataan Death March, was executed by firing squad.
In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist communism.
In 1968, the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “mountaintop” speech to a rally of striking sanitation workers.
In 1973, the first handheld portable telephone was demonstrated for reporters on a New York City street corner as Motorola executive Martin Cooper contacted Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs using a Motorola device that looked like “a small, domesticated version of military walkie-talkies” and weighed less than 3 pounds.
In 1974, tornadoes struck wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted.
In 1996, an Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard.
Ten years ago: Moving with a sense of wartime urgency, the House and Senate separately agreed to give President George W. Bush nearly â€¨$80 billion to carry out the battle against Iraq and meet the threat of terrorism.
Five years ago: NATO allies meeting in Bucharest, Romania, gave President George W. Bush strong support for a missile defense system in Europe and urged Moscow to drop its angry opposition to the program.
One year ago: Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the Republican presidential nomination, sweeping primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
-- “Discover the Possibilities of Xeriscape” class, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Colorado Springs Utilities Conservation and Environmental Center, 2855 Mesa Road, free.
-- “Religion and Religiosity - A Jaundiced Neurobiological Perspective” lecture by Robert Sapolsky, 7 p.m., Colorado College, Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave., free.