DENVER – A bill that would repeal prohibitions on gun magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition was targeted Monday by Democrats in the state Senate.
Senate Bill 7 would repeal controversial legislation put in place in 2013 that limits the capacity of magazines Coloradans can own. It was passed on a voice vote despite opposition speeches from several Democrats.
Speeches were delivered as part of a motion that would have removed S.B. 7 from list of bills adopted by the Senate on second reading. The motion failed 21-14 with three with Democrats siding with the GOP.
Objection focused around the connection between mass shootings and high-capacity magazines.
Sen. Rhoda Fields, D-Aurora, said she was speaking as a surrogate on behalf of the 12 who died in a 2012 movie theater shooting in her district in which the shooter was equipped with a 100-round drum magazine.
“High-capacity magazines should be something that you use in war. They should not have a place in our churches, in our theaters, in our malls, in our schools,” Fields said.
Sen. Michael Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs, said high-capacity magazines may not be used in all mass shootings, but limiting access to them can minimize the harm inflicted during some events.
“A ban on high-capacity magazines will not stop shootings in America, but it will absolutely make them less lethal,” Merrifield said.
Last week, when this bill was heard in the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee, some argued it was not an extension of Second Amendment rights but rather a restoration of rights that have been taken away from Coloradans.
“We are going to ask that you vote yes for the restoration of the Second Amendment for those millions and millions of innocent and law abiding gun owners who just want the level playing field,” Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, said.
But most Democrats disagreed.
“Fifteen-round magazines won’t solve everything, but we ought to do what we can especially when we know people die in theses instances, and we can save lives,” said Sen. Matt Jones, D-Louisville.
The measure was prompted by passage of high-capacity magazine limits in 2013, when Democrats held a trifecta: Control of both chambers of the Legislature and the executive branch under Gov. John Hickenlooper.
After the gun law passed the 2013 legislative session, a special election was held in which two Senate Democrats, including the Senate president at the time, John Morse, were replaced by Republicans.
During last year’s legislative session, bills identical to S.B. 7 were introduced in the Senate and House, and were killed in the House State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee.
With a Democratic majority in the House, this is the likely fate for S.B.7 and House Bill 1097, which is its House twin.