Updated: February 13, 2014 at 7:09 am
The last of the Republican gun bills died in committee Wednesday, but Democrats think the debate on Sen. Bernie Herpin's bill might have given them ammunition headed into 2014 elections.
Herpin said during testimony on his bill to repeal a ban on high-capacity magazines that it was "maybe a good thing" that the suspect in the Aurora theater shooting had a 100-round magazine that jammed.
He called 100-round magazines historically unreliable.
"Perhaps James Holmes would not have been able to purchase a 100-round magazine," Herpin said in responding to a question from another senator about whether the new law would have prevented Holmes from having such large magazines. "As it turned out that was maybe a good thing that he had a 100-round magazine because it jammed. If he had instead had 4, 5, 6, 15 round magazines there's no telling how much damage he could have done until a good guy with a gun showed up."
That comment drew ire from those in the audience waiting to testify.
"We heard from two parents who lost children in the Aurora shooting," said Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, D-Westminster. "And to have a member of our chamber sit here and say it was a good thing that the shooter had a 100-round magazine because we should just hope that it would jam . I can't imagine the pain."
Ulibarri said we need is good public policy, not wishful thinking that a gun will jam.
Herpin said he didn't mean any offense but was merely pointing out that when the shooter's gun jammed he left the theater and the carnage stopped.
Among those who were offended was Tom Sullivan, whose son Alex was among the 12 people killed in the shooting.
"I've had a lot of thoughts since July 20, 2012, and I can tell you that never have I once thought that it was better that that man walked into that theater with a 100-round drum and opened fire on over 200 people that were in that theater," Sullivan said. "From every indication that I have . 76 bullets came out of that magazine."
Democrats have also defeated another effort to repeal the ban on magazines that hold more than 15 bullets and a bill that would have repealed background checks required for every gun sale including those between private individuals.