Cook County Board Proposes Tax On Guns And Ammo

Pivotal Votes on Colo. Gun-Control Measures

by IVAN MORENO and KRISTEN WYATT,  |  published on March 9, 2013

Standing firm on new firearm restrictions, Colorado Democrats are on the cusp of advancing aggressive gun-control proposals Friday in a state balancing a history of heartbreaking shootings with a Western heritage where gun ownership is treasured by many.

The debate playing out in Colorado is being watched closely because its moderate political makeup makes it a testing ground to see how far the nation is willing to go with new gun laws in the wake of mass shootings in a suburban Denver movie theater and a Connecticut elementary school. Already the White House has weighed in, with Vice President Joe Biden phoning four lawmakers while on a recent ski vacation here to nudge the Democrats during their first major gun debate last month.

Democratic lawmakers pushing for the stricter measures, including more background checks and limits on the size of ammunition magazines, are facing powerful opposition from gun-rights advocates. They flooded the state Capitol by the thousands earlier this week, waving “Don’t Tread On Me” flags and blaring car horns as they circled the block while bills were being considered in committees. Some Democrats have reported getting threatening emails and phone calls.

The stakes get higher Friday, when the Senate takes up seven Democratic gun-control measures in a marathon debate expected to last late into the night. Democrats hold a 20-15 advantage in the chamber, meaning they have a narrow margin to pass the bills. Republicans need only three Democrats to vote no to defeat a bill, and two Democrats have already expressed opposition to some of the measures.

Among the more controversial bills pending is a proposal to end Colorado’s unusual practice of allowing concealed weapons on public college campuses. Another would set liability standards for sellers and owners of assault weapons for crimes.

Democrats are also face pressure on a bill limiting ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. Officials at a company that manufactures magazines said if the bill passes they will leave, and take hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue with them.

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