If events earlier this week were any indication, it should be a day of intense back-and-forth.
We hope lawmakers approve all but two of the seven pending measures, though one of the bills we oppose needs only a tweak for us to support it. The one bill that does not make sense at all is the one that would make manufacturers and sellers of assault-style weapons liable for crimes committed with the guns.
Senate Bill 196, sponsored by Senate President John Morse, flies in the face of logic and federal law. It's a convoluted effort to skirt a federal ban on lawsuits against gun makers and sellers.
As we said previously, we think the more honest approach would have been to propose a straight-up ban, which we support. Lawmakers should kill this bill and bring back one that takes the issue head-on.
As for the six other measures, we think they are good public policy. We'll take them on one at a time.
Senate Bill 195 would end online training for a concealed-carry permit. If it passes, people who want to get such a permit would have to do the training in person.
That's a reasonable requirement that would ensure people are properly trained and has the potential to expose applicants who are obviously mentally unstable.
Another logical change being proposed would establish a state-level enforcement system for prohibitions, already in federal law, against domestic violence perpetrators from owning guns. Senate Bill 197 mandates the state court system will require those convicted of domestic violence crimes to relinquish any weapons. It also covers those who have protection orders against them. It's a logical extension of those existing prohibitions.
Another sensible change being proposed would require a potential gun buyer in a private transaction to undergo a criminal background check. House Bill 1229, the universal background check bill, would tighten up the state's system for ensuring that those who shouldn't have guns cannot buy them. It's long overdue.
On a related matter, House Bill 1228 would require gun buyers to pay for their background check, a cost estimated at $10 to $12. Recently, a surge of buyers flooded the system and lengthy delays resulted. This reasonable fee will create a revenue stream to pay for checks. It makes sense.
In addition, there is House Bill 1226, which bans concealed weapons on college campuses. As we have said previously, guns and college students are a volatile mix. But we would still prefer the decision of whether to prohibit guns on campus be left up to individual colleges and universities and would support this bill only if it were tweaked to allow that.
And lastly, House Bill 1224, the most controversial of the bunch, would ban the sale of magazines holding more than 15 rounds of ammunition. High-capacity magazines have been used in several mass shooting incidents that illustrate the capacity of this equipment to mow down many people very quickly. We see little need for them and have no qualms about banning their sale.
There's no doubt the gun debate has been loud and contentious, but that's democracy in action. We wouldn't have it any other way.
The Denver Post, March 7