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Colorado lawmakers advance package of gun control bills

by FOXNews.com  |  published on March 6, 2013

Firearm restrictions pitched by Colorado Democrats advanced Monday, as the battle over them intensified with hundreds of gun rights supporters cramming the state Capitol and circling the building all day with car horns blaring. Inside, the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords urged lawmakers to pass universal background checks and victims of mass shootings in Connecticut and a suburban Denver movie theater pleaded for more gun controls.

Colorado has become a focus point in the national debate over what new laws, if any, are needed to prevent gun violence in the wake of recent mass shootings, including an attack at a suburban Denver movie theater last summer — a massacre that brought to mind the Columbine High School shooting of 1999 for many in the state and across the nation.

Lawmakers in the politically moderate state are considering a package of gun control measures, including plans that would limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and expand background checks to include private sales and online purchases. Both measures cleared Democratic-controlled committees on 3-2 party-line votes but still need approval from the full Senate, which could debate the bills as soon as this week.

Retired astronaut and Navy captain Mark Kelly told lawmakers that he and his wife support the Second Amendment, but he said the right to bear arms shouldn’t extend to criminals and the mentally ill.

Kelly compared the different background check requirements for private and retail sales to having two different lines at the airport, one with security and one without.

“Which one do you think the terrorist is going to choose?” he asked.

Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Tucson, Ariz., was severely wounded in a mass shooting in January 2011 while meeting with constituents.

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